the skin i live in

The less known about this film before going to see it the better.

There’s a man (a plastic surgeon), a girl (a beautiful girl), and a housekeeper. That’s all you need to know. The plot twist is so inherent to the brilliance of this film that it’s best I refrain from commenting on it much more.

I can however comment on Almodóvar’s excellent story telling skills. As a viewer, you find yourself gradually guided through a haunting and provocative world. And as the plot unfolds, you become ever deeper entwined in what should really be considered the absurd. But – as a result of Almodóvar’s restrained and sensitive approach – this is not the case. As Dave Calhoun perfectly summarises in his Time Out review, Almodóvar has once again displayed his ‘genius for turning the ridiculous into the sublime’.

The Skin I Live In will gently tangle its twisted web around you. Unnervingly sleek, and unsettlingly sexy, it will take you on a psychological journey through which restraint is practiced, but impact is in no way compromised. Almodóvar’s acute attention to detail is key to this; noticeable from the very start it successfully makes this film all-encompassing. You can’t help but be seduced by the precise execution and intense colour palette of every shot.

Performances are also stunning. And yet I couldn’t help but feel that further exploration of the main characters’ emotional states could have occurred. As a story it works. As a study of how the human psyche is capable of affecting – or reacting to – said story, it doesn’t quite follow through.

But perhaps this should be interpreted as a strength. For the director passes no judgement. And one is already left reeling from the events that have taken place on screen, requiring time to process and digest the experience as a whole. True analysis of emotional motivations may have proven to be too much.

Now, forget all you’ve heard. Read the synopsis if you must. And stay away from the trailer if you can.

Go see The Skin I Live In.

A film of disturbing, perverse, beauty.

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