Popcorn rating: 4.5/5
Skin suits and abuse. A man dressed as a carnival tiger. These are just some of the striking moments in the opening scenes of The Skin I Live In. It is bizarre, frightening and claustrophobic yet completely absorbing and slightly reminiscent of the style of Stanley Kubrick in A Clockwork Orange.
World famous Spanish director Pedro Almodovar ventures into very familiar territory yet there is more urgency and tension here than his usual work. The film tells the story of pioneering plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) who creates a completely lifelike yet almost indestructible synthetic skin.
Ledgard has been twisted by the tragic death of his wife and daughter and a mysterious woman Vera (Elena Anaya) is held captive as his experiments continue. It might sound like the stuff of a horror film but it is more haunting and thought-provoking than anything else.
The tricky element of reviewing The Skin I Live In is that to say much more would be to give the plot away. There is a major twist which is revealed about half way through but you’ll probably still be stunned as a the credits roll.
Praise goes to Almodovar for making the film he set out to without compromise and making an outlandish scenario seem feasible. You get the real sense this wouldn’t have worked with any other director.