The Skin I Live In

Have you got a taste for the weird? Do you mind having every part of your mind violated? Have you ever heard the word ‘vaginoplasty’uttered in Spanish? Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. If you want to really enjoy Almodovar’s latest film, then you should avoid looking at any plot synopses. Suffice it to say that there’s a certain amount of kidnap and plastic surgery. What else can we say without totally giving the game away? Well, The Skin I Live In is a horror movie- a perverse twist on the Frankenstein legend that is weirder than it is creepy (and it’s pretty creepy).

At the heart of the film is Antonio Banderas, the kindly, family oriented surgeon, desperate to help burn victims and not at all interested in personal plaudits. Or something like that. Banderas’ performance is an immersive transformation. On the face of it he’s a handsome, successful doctor but beneath that façade (and crucially it’s only skin deep) there’s a madness. Throw into the mix one of Almodovar’s muses, Elena Anaya, who is devastatingly perfect and feminine (a potent mix given the…umm…plot) and you’ve got a recipe for a whole pot of Iberian craziness. Suffice it to say that if Eli Roth directed an American remake of this it would be totally gross.

So is it worth recommending? It takes a strong visual stomach and a willingness to stretch the bounds of plausibility. It also requires a viewer who is not afraid to get their hands dirty in terms of the onscreen moral and sexual conflict, which will draw you in.  It might be a tour de force piece of direction or it might be the work of a demented psychopath who’s been allowed to film people, but the only thing that’s certain is that it’s a captivating piece of drama. It’s just very weird.

Blowing up the dormant insanity of both characters and author, Almodovar has crafted a film which is, by turns, spectacular and gruesome. 

Title: The Skin I Live In
Director: Almodovar
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet
Certificate: 15
Running Time: Pretty long 2 Hours+

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