Newest Reviews
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Iron Mask, The
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
  Skin I Live In, The Mad About The Girl
Year: 2011
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Álamo, Eduard Fernández, José Luis Gómez, Blanca Suárez, Susi Sánchez, Bárbara Lennie, Fernando Cayo, Chema Ruiz
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is one of the most brilliant surgeons in the world, having performed nine face transplants so far, all of them a roaring success. Now he is endeavouring to create a new synthetic skin to revolutionise the human race: it would be fire and mosquito resistant, which would mean malaria would be a thing of the past, but he is having trouble selling the idea to the authorities when they need more proof than his say so that his invention works as well as it does. But Robert does have proof: a woman locked away in his country house who he has been using as his guinea pig for six years...

Banderas had made his name internationally in the films of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, but by the time they got to collaborate again, over twenty years had gone by and with Antonio quite conclusively going Hollywood in the intervening period some wondered if he would ever go back to his roots. Then along came The Skin I Live In, or La piel que habito to give it the original title, a Spanish film through and through and also one of the most outrageously plotted Almodóvar movies for a while, as if seeing his old friend again had triggered those old stylings once more after too much good taste.

That's not to say it was all giddy laughs and cheerfully transgressive behaviour, because the tone here was very sober so as to sell the big twist halfway through: any other, more lighthearted or self-consciously wacky approach would have overbalanced this into outright camp, and made it more frivolous than the director wanted it to be. Indeed, there was a very grave mood to much of what we saw, so that even when it got to the craziness you may have laughed, but you would not have been chortling all the way through up to that point, as the handling of the plot did not invite that interpretation.

Banderas was commendably straightfaced throughout, not bad for a role which was essentially an updating of the more traditional mad scientist of countless horror movies, and Elena Anaya as that guinea pig, Vera, brought a vulnerability to her reading that only as events played out did we begin to understand. It seems Ledgard has covered her body in his synthetic skin product, but for some reason is reluctant to share her with the rest of the scientific community, and her protests at being locked up in his mansion with only the housekeeper (Marisa Paredes) knowing she is there are becoming more desperate, cutting the skin to spoil her captor's schemes, though these gestures are futile.

Then the backstory begins as we question who Vera is and how she landed in this predicament. The answer to the former could be she is the wife of Ledgard who supposedly died in a car crash, burned alive - but did she die? Or could she be daughter of the surgeon, who was traumatised by something in her past, in which case why is he so keen to take the woman to his bed, as if hopelessly enamoured of her - though it's more his own genius he is caught up in? Possibly Vera is someone else entirely, and the theme of no matter who you appear to be on the outside it may not match the way you are on the inside, psychologically, is pushed to the fore, subtly at first, then with more stress, in both senses of the word. The second half of the film is caught up in a lengthy explanation, and finally the resolution, of a narrative that may be gimmicky when it comes down to it, but Almodóvar managed to get away with the huge strains on credulity by adopting utmost seriousness to deliver what tended to fall apart in retrospect. Music by Alberto Iglesias.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2444 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor


Last Updated: