Friday, 9 September 2011

La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In) Review

Director: Pedro Almodovar
Year: 2011
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya
Country: Spain
Language: Spanish
Runtime: 117 minutes

The Skin I Live In
This is really a one of a kind movie. It deals with a topic that has never really been dealt with with great effect before. I'm sure one of the reasons you're reading this review is to find out whether is succeeds in dealing with this topic effectively? Well, in a quick two word answer: hell yes. In case anyone doesn't know what the topic is, it's skin transplants, for people who have had horrific burns to their face or body, to restore their body to its original format, or at least to look normal again. The actors in this film portray their characters absolutely perfectly to suit the topic and the atmosphere of the film - tense, yet in a strange way calm. The chemistry between Banderas and Anaya really is brilliant, and both actors give fine performances throughout.

The plot of this film often felt slightly disjointed to me. This doesn't, however, stop it from being incredibly gripping and fascinating. The cinematography in this film adds to the absolute sublimity of the picture as a whole, and really enhances the plot past its disjointed areas. Before I go on to analyse the rest of the film, I must point out that this is truly one of the most beautifully made films that I have ever seen. It is filmed with such effort and it really shows in the picture. Never have I been so engrossed by the way a film looks. Even if the other parts of the film don't blow you away, the way it looks certainly will. The direction from Almodovar in this film is almost perfect in the way that it completely suits the content of the film.

This film has a few hugely disturbing scenes that the viewer will most likely not expect. They will have you in your seat thinking, "what the fuck just happened and why?" These scenes are hugely effective, though, and they actually make the film a lot more memorable. This film went places that a lot of films are scared to go, and the result has a huge impact and stays with the viewer. But it has to be said, this film might not be for the faint of heart. Almost every scene in this film is made completely by its wonderful actors and actresses, who give a rather melancholic yet extremely exciting performance. 

The huge twist in this film, for me, was a little predictable, but that doesn't stop it being truly amazing when it arrives. The scenes where the twist is revealed are some of the best scenes in the entire film, they are stunningly shot and the atmosphere of them will have you falling in love with the film. Although the trailer for this film made it look quite timid, the film is really quite gritty. It really doesn't hesitate to throw everything it has at you, and honestly, this is a good thing. You will feel completely satisfied after the credits start rolling, and the main reason for that is that because the film doesn't pull any punches. The dialog in this film is wonderful as well, and thank god they didn't dub it in English, because the Spanish language truly defines this film.

The only other real complaint I would have about this film is that some of the side characters are disgustingly undeveloped, so much that they feel pointless to the film, even if they are an essential part of the narrative. For someone who can't look past things like this, it might disrupt their overall enjoyment of the film. Luckily, I don't let one aspect of a film destroy my experience of a film. Some may not even think that some of the characters are undeveloped, but if you do, please try and look past it - because if you do, you will realize what a truly wonderful film it is as a whole. The Skin I Live In is my favorite film of the year so far, and is an essential viewing experience, with wonderful camerawork, stellar performances on the most part, and beautiful dialogue. 


  1. Great stuff, Colin! I wish I would've gotten tickets to go see this at TIFF. I'm pretty sure I ended up choosing Melancholia instead (for the time they're screening at). I love how you're never afraid to withhold what aspects you didn't particularly like from the film.
    I only have two complaints:
    1. Although using "fudge" instead of "fuck" is cute and all, I personally love reading vulgar language in movie reviews. So I suggest not holding yourself back when you want to do so!
    2. You're a slut. :)

    - Nick

  2. Excellent review of a film that I really intend to see.

  3. A review of FUCKED proportions

  4. There is a penis in your review