February 22, 2012

The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito) (2011)

Almodóvar’s latest sexy Spanish romp is pushing his usual motifs more towards the horror genre, but like he claims, this is "a horror story without screams or frights". Most likely it is very accessible to the more squeamish  viewers that wouldn’t normally enjoy horror. In fact I’d almost have a sick fascination with getting people who aren’t into horror to see this, because truly there is nothing really disturbing in the images other than the psychological implications of the plot. When I first heard of this film, there was the immediate association with Franju’s 1960 “Les yeux sans visage” which is one of my favourite films, but alas, this is merely inspired by that film, and is in fact an adaptation of a later french novel published in 1995. Overall, this is an Almodóvar work throughout, complete with all the signature plot twists, color palettes and gender play that he’s perfected so well in his previous work. I can’t possibly say that this is his best yet, mostly because it fits in a different genre than his other work, but it nevertheless fits nicely within his cinematic oeuvre. It did keep me guessing up until maybe halfway in, when his daughter’s purported assailant gets captured, but that did not detract too much from enjoying the rest of the film. if anything, the slow progression towards the eventual reveal and conclusion just made it more compelling to watch, especially in Almodóvar stylish and passion-filled presentation. Banderas does a good job as the obsessed and ultimately psychotic plastic surgeon, and the beautiful Elena Anaya is convincing in the role of the captive with the secret known to all but us. Overall definitely worth the watch, not only for Almodóvar fans.