The Skin I Live In
The Skin I Live In

(15) 117mins

Director: Pedro Almodovar

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Marisa Paredes, Elena Anaya

SOMETHING rather different this week - a Spanish subtitled horror movie directed by the worldwide acclaimed Pedro Almodovar and which leaves the audience rather unsettled.

Banderas plays skilled plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard who has created a synthetic skin that can’t be damaged.

Unbeknown to the authorities, the surgeon has moved on from testing his project on animals to a human guinea pig.

However, this is far from a modern-day Frankenstein film.

The first third of the movie introduces us to the characters and reveals some of the secrets, along with a catalyst who sets the movie in a different direction.

The second third takes us back a few years and we have explanations for all our questions - and this is where Almodovar’s skill is revealed as the audience is left with a totally different viewpoint of what’s happened in that first part of the film. The final third wraps up the loose ends.

It may sound a little confusing and might have been left in anyone’s else’s hands, but Almodovar is a skilled craftsman.

He’s helped by some superb acting from Banderas who looks far more comfortable speaking his native tongue. Elena Anaya, also in top form, is the mysterious woman locked in a room in Ledgard’s gothic mansion.

The whole film is shot with precision and is a perfect example for any film students on how to frame a shot for maximum effect.

The success of the film, though, will be if you guess the reveal. I’m hopless at spotting clues or seeing through a plot and so was suitably shocked and horrified.

If you’re the type who always works out whodunnit halfway through a film then you might be a bit bored and underwhelmed.

three out of five stars

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley