The Skin I Live In joins the forces of Pedro Almodovar and Antonio Banderas for the first time in a long time. The movie tells the story of Dr Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, who has been interested in creating a fake skin since his wife was burned in a car crash. But he achieves this breakthrough with the assistance of Vera (Elena Anaya) a young woman he’s keeping locked up in his mansion. The only person who knows about this unusual arrangement is his maid Marilia (Marisa Paredes). But his secret, as well as ones from his past that he’s desperate to keep hidden, bubble to the surface when Marila’s criminal son shows up with a gun, forces his way into Vera’s room, and attempts to rape her.
Not a mainstream movie, this played at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. It has been very well received by critics:
- Not for everyone – there will be heated debate about at least one plot turn – but high-level filmmaking. The year’s classiest horror movie.
- It’s constructed to induce kinky shudders, delivering them with the ghoulish technical flair of a purring master.
- This is a smart, complex and intelligent movie, from a filmmaker at the top of his game. Banderas delivers a cultured performance, though really the full ensemble deserve great credit.
- A skilful piece of storytelling that reorganises time and, in a characteristic Almodóvar fashion, challenges our preconceptions about everyday life and personal conduct.
Unfortunately, it might not be so easy to see in a public theater, so might be one for the home cinema system.