94/100 (117 min, 2011)
Plot: A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writers: Pedro Almodóvar (screenplay), Agustín Almodóvar (collaboration), Thierry Jonquet (novel "Tarantula")
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Jan Cornet
The Great Redesign
Pedro Almodovar is one of the most distinctive directors working today - all of his movies touch deeply humane subject, are filled with fiery passion, warm colors and many complications between character. "The Skin I Live" is along with "Todo sobre mi madre" and "Carne Tremula" the movie of his I enjoyed the most. Based on shocking novel "Tarantula" Almodovar tells deeply moving story, filled with many twists, turns and mysteries. "The Skin I Live in" is also the best film noir of the year.
From the beginning we are thrown into a strange world occupied by older housekeeper, beautiful woman living in locked room and a driven scientist. With every minute there are more and more pieces of puzzles being revealed to us - the young woman is suicidal, the housekeeper has dangerous son who seemed to have an affair with the scientist's wife and the man himself, Robert Ledgard is determined to create strong, nearly indestructible skin and he is fascinated with the young woman in his captivity, Vera, whom he watches on huge TV screen, secretly desiring her, against his will.
The movie posses great questions through locating its characters in impossible situations - how much loss can one take? What would someone do for their child? If everything is changed in our appearance are we the same person we were before? I admire Almodovar for not blatantly using a great twist in the story - when you do something like this everyone keeps talking about the twist, not the movie. Almodovar hints the twist at least twice before we actually see it happen, so when it happens it doesn't come as such a huge shock. He chooses more difficult path and because of this we are more able to focus on the complex and disturbingly fascinating characters.
The film shows, although not us cruelly and profoundly as the book, very radical and memorable revenge. But even the person who is the seemingly villain didn't do that much wrong - a lot in the movie circles around rape and while in the book it is indisputable that this occurred, in the movie there are many circumstances which create a lot of doubt when it comes to apparent attacker.In the book the means of revenge seem awful but called for, in the movie we aren't sure. The person is basically being punished because of the further outcome of the action and not the action alone.
Ledgard calls his synthetic skin 'Gal' after his wife. The name is short for Galatea, who in Roman Mythology was a statue made by the gifted sculptor Pygmalion. The statue was so perfect that Pygmalion fell in love with his own creation and Venus granted his wish to bring her to life. Based on this myth and the story it is apparent that Ledgard is slave to his desire - he can't forget his wife and using his skills, he will do everything to bring her back, no matter how much he crosses the line of professional ethics and morality.
The cinematography is stunning, as always in Almodovar's movies and the music by Alberto Iglesias is without a doubt, the most impressive soundtrack of the year - the passionate, mad violins are unforgettable and add so much fire to the picture. The recurring motive summarizes everything that happens in the movie - the desire, the tragedy, the obsession. It's really the best kind of cinematic music.