The skin I live in (La piel que habito) in has provided us with one of the most invigorating film trailers of the year. Spanish director Pedro Almodovar decides to adapt the book Tarantula by Theirry Jonquet for the screen.
Calling this film an odd ball will be an understatement. The skin I live in is about a surgeon who invents a skin that cannot burn but has only tested this on mice. With the help of his maid he captures a young victim to test this out on. We find out he does this because his wife suffered burns in a car crash and was disfigured, which caused her to jump out of the window committing suicide. His daughter however witnessed this and has been in therapy ever since until when things get worse and she is raped at a party. He sets out to find her rapist and surgically make him into his disfigured deceased wife. Antonio Banderas has described the revenge in the film as the justification his character needs to do the horrible thing he does and this statement I agree with.
This film brilliantly vergers on a horror film but never fully commits as it’s got a mellow dramatic twist. This film contains date rape, lies, old school storytelling, murder, secrets, mystery parents, gender ambiguity, and revenge; makes it feel like a very complicated game of Cluedo.
Antonio Banderas literally kills in this role; I cannot envision any other actor doing a better job. It is also good to see him in a Spanish speaking role again as it always seems to liberate actors when they speak in their home tongue another example of this is Javier Bardem in Biutiful. In an interview for Cannes Antonio admits choosing some film roles he probably shouldn’t have. He now concentrates more on the talent of the directors in helping him choose roles, hence why he has also just did You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger with Woody Allen let just hope he keeps this up. Elena Anya who played Vera in the film does an amazing job. Most people remember her as the girl in Justin Timberlake’s sexy back video and the vampire in Van Helsing but we are going to be seeing a lot more of her in the coming years.
Review by Simon Benro