Film Review: The Skin I Live In

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The sort of psycho-sexual thriller Alfred Hitchcock only wishes he could’ve made in his era, “The Skin I Live In” is the best film in a decade by the Spanish auteur, Pedro Almodóvar.

This wild, kinky story is about an obsessive plastic surgeon named Robert (Antonio Banderas) who has a woman cooped up in his country mansion. Wearing only a nude skin-tight bodysuit, Vera (Elena Anaya) is a walking enigma, observed through a barrage of video cameras.

Is she Robert’s lover? His prisoner? His patient? Perhaps, somehow, all three?

Vera is anguished, having just attempted suicide as the story opens, but the strange new skin Robert has grafted onto her is nearly impervious to her knife slashes. Things get even stranger when a malevolent interloper invades their sanctuary, and makes lascivious overtures toward Vera.

This story is intercut with flashbacks to a few years ago when Robert and his teen daughter struggled to come to grips with the self-inflicted death of his wife. It’s a thorny bramble of a story, leading the audience into temptation and chaos, even as we draw closer to the answers to the film’s mysteries.

What a weird, wondrous journey.

 

Movie: A-minus

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