REVIEW: The Skin I Live In

28 03 2012

Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film, “The Skin I Live In,” is quite possibly the most bizarre, disturbing, unnerving, and twisted movie I’ve ever seen.  And naturally, I loved every minute of it.

Almodóvar is one of the best, if not the best, working writer and director dealing with the theme of obsession, particularly in his recent works “Talk to Her” and “Broken Embraces.”  While this doesn’t quite reach the thematic and intellectual brilliance of the former, “The Skin I Live In” provides a great deal more in-the-moment thrills that will have your jaw on the floor.  I often think of myself as desensitized to shocking, lurid movies, and boy, was I wrong as this had me agape from the entirety of the last act.

So it should go without saying that if you don’t have a high tolerance for rape, sexuality, and plastic surgery, this is not the movie for you.  But if you think you can handle it, then by all means, dive into Almodóvar’s weird world of revenge fantasy.  “The Skin I Live In” first masquerades as a modern “Pygmalion” with Antonio Banderas’ Robert Ledgard, a scientist, researcher, and surgeon, developing a dangerously close relationship with a specimen to whom he has endowed perfect skin.  However, Almodóvar shifts the narrative back a few years, opens the blinds, and makes us realize that nothing is as it seemed.

Creative and original to an almost deranged point, “The Skin I Live In” makes for quite a tumultuous watching experience for those with the stomach to stick with it to the end.  Amidst the uncomfortable nudity, the unsettling sexual assaults, and the stunning twists, there are ethical questions aplenty raised.  How far is too far, the movie consistently asks – and Almodóvar is willing to go to the moon and beyond to make his film one you won’t stop thinking about.  A-

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