Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Skin I Live In

This is the latest film from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. It stars Antonio Banderas (who started his career with Almodovar), Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes (a longtime star of many Almodovar films). It is a very twisted Hitchcockian melodrama that you will either accept or find totally absurd.

Mr. Banderas has never been more suave and debonair as he channels Cary Grant in his role of a plastic surgeon with a very dark secret. Dr. Ledgard is experimenting on a new type of human skin. He has a young woman, Ms. Anaya, prisoner in his home that he uses as a living pallet for his work. Who she is and how she got there is slowly revealed in a flashback that is more than just bizarre.

Mr. Almodovar's direction is sharp and precise. There is fine attention to every detail and his use of color, especially red, bursts through the screen. The orchestral score enhances the visuals. Besides obvious Hitchcock, there are elements of Bunuel, Cronenberg and even his own earlier work, "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down". It is an exploration of love and obsession that knows no bounds.

It is a stylish yet macabre suspense thriller. It contains moments of sex and violence with a revelation that one may find very disturbing. It you are looking for something truly different, this is it.

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