Sensual, Sumptuous, Sexual, Spanish.
One of the most irritating things in the world are people that don’t watch foreign language films because they “can’t be bothered with the subtitles”. It literally makes me want to go all Reservoir Dogs on their ears just so they have to watch everything with subtitles for the rest of their lives for being so bloody ignorant.
"What's that? You can't hear me? Would you like some subtitles now?"
Anyway, now that my rant is over I can move onto the film.
The Skin I Live In is the hotly anticipated new film from Oscar winning Spaniard Pedro Almodóvar (though saying that, the anticipation has mostly been on my part as I’m the weird film geek of my friendship group), and it is an Almodóvar film all over. Yet here we have a director who is an Auteur in every sense of the word, but somehow manages to stay fresher than the Fresh Prince himself.
You get filmmakers like Tim Burton, who, lets face it, are BORING. Oooo a new Tim Burton film, I wonder how much gothic inspiration is going to be swirling around Johnny Depp’s strange character who doesn’t fit into society for whatever reason. He is the Iron Maiden of the film industry, releasing the same thing again and again and again in a never ending spiral that even M.C. Escher couldn’t comprehend (high brow art joke fnar fnar fnar).
If Escher gets confused, you know we're in trouble.
So with this film, you have all the general Almodóvar traits: strong female characters, pushing the boundaries of gender stereotypes, bright colours, obsession and the connections between people. Yet these are all just part of a much grander plot that becomes an incredible feat of genre mashing that keeps you on your toes. Jumping between thriller, mystery, family drama, body horror, suspense, revenge and psychosexual drama with an episodic, almost choppy narrative is definitely an experiment that could have gone horribly wrong, but we are safely in the hands of a master as he navigates us through this utterly batshit insane plot.
Antonio Banderas is our protagonist, a brilliant plastic surgeon who has holed himself away in his country home working on a single project for the last 6 years. He has created a skin that you can graft onto a human that is tougher than skin is supposed to be. His test subject has remained imprisoned in captivity and is the key to his past. That’s all I’m going to say because you really have to see it to believe it.
The cast is amazing, Banderas is suitably intense and brooding, Elena Anaya is the brilliantly fragile, yet menacing Vera and Almodóvar regular Marisa Paredes plays a brilliant matriarch. There is very little I can fault with this film, apart from maybe the pacing is a little slow through the middle. But that doesn’t really matter considering that every frame of film is full to bursting of visual imagery that will make your eyes bleed in ecstasy.
EVEN STATUES OF LIONS EYES' WILL BLEEEEEEEED
This film is an absolute must watch not only for its fantastic direction, or the great performances, or the insane plot, or the beautiful visuals, but because it’s fresh, new. I have never quite seen anything like it and leaving the cinema the only word I could really think of to describe it was AWESOME. What is so great about it is that it has more ideas rammed into it than the karma sutra. A film that is so very much the way I like my men….RICH.*
Would you have sex with a cartoon character if they were rich? I'm considering it...
*Author is aware that this is a terrible joke that you would expect from Sex and the City, or the back of a penguin wrapper.