Certificate 15, 117 minutes
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Jan Cornet
The Skin I Live In stars Antonio Banderas (Machete Kills) as Dr Robert Ledgard, an apparently brilliant and wealthy plastic surgeon who is also a skilled researcher. He is also, from what is seen of his behaviour in the film, completely insane, even if his is an insanity that appears normal and rational and allows Ledgard to pass himself off as a normal human being.
The reason for this is due to personal tragedies that appear to have pushed him over the edge. These tragedies are detailed in the film, partly with an extensive flashback episode, and partly by one character telling the story to another. Ledgard currently lives in an extensive house in Toledo with, for most of the film, only three occupants; Ledgard himself, a mysterious woman known as Vera (Elena Anaya) and Marilia (Marisa Paredes) his housekeeper.
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Theskinilivein-poster.pngLedgard has been experimenting with creating a synthetic skin which is resistant to damage, including fire and insect bites - the Skin of the films' title - after the loss of his wife years earlier. It appears that Vera has been his guinea pig for much of this work. Human trials being naturally forbidden, Vera has to remain locked up in the house.
One thing that isn't clear before you watch the film is the fact that it is in Spanish. In the trailer, there is hardly any talking - only one line is spoken in the entire trailer which is easily missed. As a consequence of this, the film was in subtitles. If you understand Spanish, this isn't so much of a problem, but if you don't it's necessary to pay close attention to the subtitles. A momentary lapse in concentration can cause the thread of an entire conversation to be lost. There are, however, extensive parts of the film where there is no talking, simply somewhat sinister orchestral music.
The film itself is somewhat disturbing. Ledgard is massively deranged, even if he mostly behaves in a rational manner, and he probably bears more resemblance to a serial killer - if without the killing - than to any sane and normal person. This film therefore as such appears more like a horror film than anything else, albeit without the extensive gore that typifies much modern horror and substantially less screaming. The beautiful house that the residents live in is the stage for a number of unpleasant scenes, some of a sexual nature.
Even if you lack the understanding of Spanish to properly watch the film, and are either watching a dubbed version or reading subtitles, The Skin I Live In is still quite powerful. It is not, by any means, a particularly pleasant film, but if watched on the understanding that it is a horror film with some science fiction elements, it can be a good watch - enjoyable isn't quite the correct word here. Just be certain that you understand that it isn't in English, as that can be a shock.
Certificate 15, 117 minutes