Friday, October 14, 2011

Movie with Abe: The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In
Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Released October 14, 2011

Director Pedro Almodovar makes film in a very unique, memorable manner. In his past few releases, such as the spectacular “Broken Embraces” and the wonderful “Volver,” he has unveiled a dark, twisted secret under the guise of an otherwise pleasant and gorgeously-photographed story. In his new film, “The Skin I Live In,” Almodovar works not from an original script as usual but instead adapts a novella, marvelously working its plot into a film that might seem like it came entirely from his own mind. “The Skin I Live In” is equally alluring and disturbing, and Almodovar’s latest film is just as enticing as any of his works.

Not much is revealed early on in “The Skin I Live In,” and to say more than a few sentences about the film’s plot here would be a disservice to the viewing experience. Summarizing Antonio Banderas’ part as noted scientist Robert Ledgard, who keeps a mysterious woman with an artificial skin confined to a room in his mansion, will suffice to describe the intrigue. Almodovar is not concerned with filling in details right away, and those familiar with his previous films will be prepared to wait until the time is right for the unsettling revelation to occur.

Banderas and Almodovar have collaborated many times in the past, but it’s clear that this is a fresh type of part and tone for them to work on together. The two agreed that Ledgard, a character with definite skeletons in his closet, shouldn’t be played big, opting for a reserved take on a fearsome and formidable man, making him into even more of an enigma. For the gorgeous mystery woman trapped in Ledgard’s home, Almodovar chooses not Penelope Cruz but instead Elena Anaya, who had a small part in “Talk to Her” and makes for a fantastic new muse for the director. Banderas and the charming, beautiful Anaya have a magnificent unspoken chemistry guided almost entirely by facial expressions and body language.

Those moviegoers enticed by the notion of a deeply complicated, extensively disquieting film should waste no time in going to see “The Skin I Live In.” Those less eager to be presented with such themes, which are not easy to get out of mind, should steer clear to avoid nightmares and unpleasant thoughts. For those willing to stick around, “The Skin I Live In” is one of Almodovar’s most visually astounding films, and one of his most contemplative and surprising as well.


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