Friday, November 11, 2011

The Skin I Live In: Movie Review


Into the mind of mysteriously disturbed individuals.

“The Skin I Live In” is the latest Spanish film from writer and director Pedro Almodóvar who once again explores issues of sexuality, rape, and extremely dysfunctional relationships. Set in the future, as in, next year, a scientist, Robert (Antonio Banderas), has invented the “perfect” skin. Presumably to help burn victims. But things get more mysterious, sinister and unnatural.2011

Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar

Screenplay by: Pedro Almodóvar

Starring: Antonio Banderas

Continuing in the present we are given hints as to how unhinged, immoral and obsessed Robert can be. I naively assumed that he was only slightly so. He’s just a scientist who lost his wife in an accident; it’s only natural for him to operate a little different than the rest of us.

The second third of the film gives us the back story. Everything that I thought I had inferred from the beginning was wrong, completely wrong. I loved how they made me think, and then decipher it all again. But then I realized how aberrant and disturbing the story actually was.

The last third of the film takes us back to the story unfolding in the present. While I did want to see how the denouement played out, I also wanted to see how others were responding to this film. I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat and looked around the theatre to see most people laughing nervously. “The Skin I Live In” is far from a comedy but nervous laughter does seem to be the right response.

As Almodóvar probably sees it, all problems (or any problem) can stem from pre-mature sexuality. Even if it’s not rape to some, it will be to others. I don’t think he ever really presents a solution, just that no good can ever come of it.

“The Skin I Live In” gets into the mind of some disturbed individuals. One who is just naturally criminally-inclined, one who has selfishly decided to control things that he cannot, or should not, control, and one who was forced into a world of torment. The paintings on the walls and the pristine order of a house which could double as a prison all speak to what’s inside the mind.