THE SKIN I LIVE IN: A New Thriller
Pedro Almodóvar’s newest film, “The Skin I Live In”, is a haunting masterpiece of tucked memories and the far-reaching experiments of a mad scientist.
Antonio Banderas is believable as Robert Ledgard, the meticulously mad yet seriously brilliant plastic surgeon in Pedro Almodóvar’s latest thriller, The Skin I Live In. It begs to question why the two haven’t collaborated much more over the past two decades, but more than this, it takes Banderas out of the land of animated features (Shrek, Spy Kids, Puss in Boots) and back into the grownup spotlight. Needless to say, Almodóvar’s foray into the dark world of skin grafting and modifications, which is loosely based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel Tarantula, is well, very dark and engaging, great film noir.
In Skin, Ledgard has grafted a revolutionary new type of human skin that is both sensitive and impermeable—resistant to all external and internal attacks. Throughout the film, Almodóvar harps on the extreme (sex, science, imprisonment and passion), and shows through a series of sequences, the main character’s secrets, his obsessions (read his hopeless need to avenge the deaths of his wife and daughter) and perhaps his intense vulnerabilty, which lends for a tremendous base story that sees phenomenal Spanish actress Elena Anaya (Yes, the same one from Talk to Her) as Ledgard’s Jean Paul-Gaultier body-suited labrat, Vera.
Like every Almodóvar film, the story is never completely given away. Viewers must work to keep up with the plot, although the ideas of scientist as god and ultimate power gone awry are very clear. And if the job of a suspenseful thriller is to keep us on our toes and perhaps come up with a variety of conclusions before the story is even unraveled, then the Oscar winning director’s latest is a classic…especially given its nod to horror films of old tinged with Skin‘s modern possibilities. Whichever side you fall on, The Skin I Live In is a must see. And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of The Pedro Almodóvar Archives, a new book that explores Almodóvar’s greatest work on-set to date, here.
The Skin I Live In is now playing in limited theaters.