At the Toronto Film Festival I do a lot of work with the Midnight Madness programme, which showcases ten offbeat genre films that often plumb the depths of depravity and has been known to feature fairly extreme flicks. Films such as Martyrs, Ichi The Killer, L'Interieur (Inside), REC 2, and Sheitan have all seen premieres here.
The Skin I Live In was not part of this programme, but it was easily as disturbing and deeply affecting as anything I've seen there. Almodovar crafts a brilliant story that's told out of sequence, and it takes a sharp left turn about halfway through when you realize the real conceit of the film.
The less I say about this conceit, the better, as it turns this film from an already surreal love story into something more closely resembling horror. Not the horror of Final Destination, but that visceral horror of Suspiria or Requiem for a Dream that burrows its way into your brain and just stays there.
The performances of Antonio Banderas (Desperado, Frida) and Elena Anaya (Cairo Time, 9, Talk To Her) are masterful, with both charged with playing spectacularly layered characters who reveal themselves slowly as the film progresses. I don't think it's a stretch to say that this is one of the best performances of Banderas' career, as he vascillates between hero and villain seemingly at will.
The cinematography is lush and gorgeous, even at its most grotesque. Almodovar manages to make surgery look like a graceful dance while the primary setting of a high-tech but still regal and classical mansion wouldn't be out of place as one of Bruce Wayne's properties.
Almodovar has crafted a magnificent film that comments on identity, sexual violence, confinement, and revenge. I'd encourage you to see it before the major crux of the story's revealed to you.
IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1189073/
88% on RT right now - http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_skin_i_live_in/
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writers: Pedro Almodóvar (screenplay), Thierry Jonquet (novel)
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Jan Cornet
|# ¿ Oct 5, 2011 13:16|
|# ¿ May 25, 2013 15:26|