Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Movie Review: "The Skin I Live In" (2011)

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Movie: "The Skin I Live In"
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Year: 2011
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours

Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is an intelligent and famous plastic surgeon. He has been keeping a woman locked in a room in his house for what appears to be a medical study for the development of a new type of skin graft. At first, it seems that Vera (Elena Anaya) is suicidal, so she is being kept locked away for her own protection. With a little further plot development, viewers learn that Ledgard's wife was burned beyond recognition in a fiery car accident; Ledgard tried desperately to save her using skin grafts, but this led to her eventual suicide once she saw her warped, non-human face. These events brought him to develop a fire-resistant, bug bite-resistant, synthetic "skin." It turns out that Vera, who was a recipient of the GAL skin graft, might not actually be a willing volunteer for Ledgard's experiments, and there might be a lot more to the situation that we realize.

We had heard about this movie when it got nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes a few years ago. Knowing nothing about it, I put it on out Netflix queue and didn't think twice. We've had it at home for quite a few months and just didn't bother to watch it...

...this movie was waaaaaaaaaaaaay more twisted than we'd thought.

We were surprised to find out this was a horror film, just not in the typical sense. The themes and scenarios are truly horrific, even if there are no serial killers, monsters, or boogeymen. Robert Ledgard is his own kind of killer, monster, and boogeyman.

This film is not overly gory, though there is some blood and a lot of disturbing thematic material. If you can't handle rape or assault, stay away from this movie; I tread a thin line between being able to watch these themes and not being able to do so. The horror here comes from more psychological horror and creating an atmosphere where the audience feels extremely uncomfortable.

We can't say much more without giving away plot points, but this movie is pretty twisted and covered themes that you wouldn't typically see in American movies. Antonio Banderas plays a pretty good disturbed person.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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