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:: The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito)

Twenty minutes into The Skin I Live In I started to think I had sat down in a poor man’s version of A Clockwork Orange. A strange guy dressed in a tiger suit was doing weird (and violent) things on the screen and I was starting to wish I had taken the day off. But then everything changed, the film changed in such a way that it now sits on my list of one of the most confronting films I have ever seen. Mind you I loved it but gee it gave me the jeeper creepers. But to be fair I won’t spoil any of the twists for you.

In fact all I will say about the storyline is – there is a brilliant surgeon, Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) who is haunted by the death of his wife, Gal and his daughter, Norma (Blanca Suarez). Together, with his house maid, Marilia (Marisa Paredes) he keeps a young woman named Vera Cruz (Elena Anaya) prisoner in their mansion.

Director, Pedro Almodovar really has created one twisted thriller with The Skin I Live In, in fact you get the feeling that Alfred Hitchcock would be impressed… okay maybe a little shocked… but certainly impressed. Almodovar is a smart filmmaker. He knows that elements of this film are going to find this film disturbing and a little hard to watch, so he smartly doesn’t hold back but makes the scenes bearable to watch. It almost seems like Almodovar has made a choice to make the more graphic scenes the most beautiful to watch. At times you feel the filmmaking is a little lazy, but soon you realise that this is the only way to tell the story and to do the twists any justice at all… it is also the only way to keep the audience in genuine suspense without making Hollywood’s mistake of reveling things too soon. And you certainly can’t fault Almodovar for the storyline. It is original and a story that you will instantly become engraved into your mind… there will be no forgetting this one anytime soon.

The Skin I Live In also reminds you just how good of an actor Antonio Banderas really is. For years he has been hidden away behind an animated cat, but here he puts in a performance as equally disturbing for the audience as Sir Anthony Hopkins was in The Silence Of The Lambs. Banderas certainly becomes one of the silver screens most horrendous villains in the role of Robert Ledgard… I still shiver just thinking about it. He is also well supported by Elena Anaya whom you feel may be getting some calls soon from Hollywood… her beauty and brilliant acting skills are a rarity these days.

The Skin I Live In is certainly one of the most twisted films to hit the cinemas this year. This is a film that you will remember for a long, long time to come. The Skin I Live In is destined to not only become a cult classic but may be regarded as one of the best thrillers ever made.

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