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The Skin I Live In

dontdiedontkillanyon Members Posts: 10,172 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited December 2011 in Lights, Camera, Action!
The Skin I Live In


Just been to watch this film and just felt like I had to write something about it on here. If you're interested then read on:

'The Skin I Live In' is a frustrating film in that trying to pitch what it is proves to be difficult considering how wide stretching its story and its themes are, and it is even more frustrating when the first time you watch it, become blown away by it and want to explain it to other people you quickly discover you can't really say much or else you end up revealing too much thus killing the film's mystery for anyone else. Revealing that the film is steeped in themes such as obsession, plastic surgery and human identity, and is also reminiscent of Hitchcockian-type thrillers seems about as far as you can go along with the basic plot synopsis that was released with the film. If anything, if you want to keep the mystery of the film and don't want to learn any more (which is the best way to approach this film) then I'd suggest you stop reading right about... now.

So basically: Antonio Banderas plays a plastic surgeon trying to perfect the creation of artificial skin which is able to resist fire and proves to be tougher than natural human skin, and Elena Anaya is his guinea pig who he experiments on whilst trapping her in complete isolation inside his swanky Madrid mansion. The obvious questions that would lead on from that would be: so why has he got her trapped in his house and using her as a test subject? Why is he even trying to create artificial skin to begin with? It is only when a criminal breaks into his house that those questions and far more end up being revealed, and trust me, there is a lot within this film that needs to be revealed.

The film's plot is quite simply foul and frankly grotesque, and the film tackles what is definitely an extreme subject that will make most people cringe, but at the same time it never veers into the ridiculous and gratuitous territory that the likes of The Human Centipede, Saw, Hostel, or some other 🤬 Hollywood torture-porn film for example end up wallowing in. Pedro Almodóvar is far too skilled as a film maker even when he's tackling a thriller/horror film, that if this film was within lesser proficient and savvy hands then 'The Skin I Live In' would have easily collapsed under the plot's own weight and become viewed as completely ridiculous and absurd, and the film itself is far too slick, self-assured and cerebral that even when it is at it's most physically and psychologically brutal and macabre that there are also moments of calm and tenderness that never throw the film's pace off. Both the lead actors are brilliant in their roles: Antonio Banderas playing the mad scientist type character, playing a haunted surgeon with a quiet exterior yet is bubbling with rage and insanity, and Elena Anaya, aka Frankenstein's monster; acting as the mysterious prisoner whilst fleshing out a character that proves to be far more than just a beautiful captive.

If you're a fan of Pedro Almodóvar then you will know what his films are like, and 'The Skin I Live In' is basically him doing a thriller/horror film in his own, distinctive and unique way. If you just like good films in general and want more than your typical and cliched Hollywood teen slasher/chain and torture film then definitely give the film a watch as well, and even if you are not a fan of subtitled films then the pace and the mystery will still keep you hanging on right to the end. Personally? Easily the film of the year so far for me, though whether that will stick I don't know. Watch it before Hollywood remakes it.