Wednesday 16 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Thriller · The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In

In ‘The Skin I Live In,’ Antonio Banderas is like Spain’s answer to Dr. Frankenstein. ¡Está vivo!

Rod Lott November 16th, 2011

As one character says to another in “The Skin I Live In,” “Don’t look at the surfaces.” He refers to the literal and physical, but writer/director Pedro Almodóvar may be instructing his audience in the figurative sense.

After all, the Oscar-winning Spanish filmmaker behind “Volver,” “Talk to Her” and “Broken Embraces” begins his films with the credit “un film de Almodóvar,” and going by one name is arty and more than a little pretentious.

This work, however, is at least more accessible to Americans; being a sexually charged thriller, its themes travel better over the waves of language that separate us. “The Skin I Live In” is scheduled to open soon at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24.

No stranger to Almodóvar’s sandbox, ol’ “Puss in Boots” himself, Antonio Banderas, portrays Dr. Robert Ledgard, one of the world’s leading plastic surgeons, having performed three of the globe’s nine face transplants. Behind the walls of his home, he’s conducting an experiment to be filed squarely under the category of Weird Science: creating artificial skin so impervious, it’s better than the real deal.

He already has a guinea pig, in Vera (Elena Anaya, “Van Helsing”), a strikingly beautiful woman who wears a mesh suit to help her new skin bind, and remains imprisoned in a near-empty room while it does.

Then a thief in a tiger costume shows up at the door, which may come as a point of bewilderment to viewers, as it signals a quick shift in tone that makes “Skin”’s two hours feel like back-to-back chapters rather than a cohesive whole.

But grant Almodóvar your patience, and trust that he has a point. He does, and it’s going to sting — in a good way, for the open-minded.

Taking more than a few visual cues from the 1960 French classic “Eyes Without a Face” and Fritz Lang’s “Dr. Mabuse” series, Almodóvar uses the constructs of a thriller to investigate man’s animal instincts — the urges that explode into violence when left unchecked (“I’ve got insanity in my entrails!”) — and our desire to be someone we are not.

Through a twisting plot of twisted logic and gross anatomy, the director employs a sharp, clinical touch with his camera, capturing settings both high-tech sterile and old-Spain ornate.

A purposely stoic Banderas relies more on facial muscles than his charmed face to inhabit the surgeon whose life is comprised of pain, which he takes out on Vera. “The Skin I Live In,” like Dr. Ledgard’s subject, is not without its flaws, but good enough to pass and easy on the eyes.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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