“The Skin I Live In,” a new film from critically acclaimed director Pedro Almodovar, combines melodrama and horror into a colorful and skin-crawling experience.
The film follows the complicated and sexually tense relationship between slightly mad surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) and his patient/prisoner Vera (Elena Ayana) as he experiments with creating skin that withstands any damage.
Antxon Gomez’s production design is phenomenal, combining bold swatches that create disquieting feelings of excitement and passion. The inside of Ledgard’s chateau, where he keeps Vera, is adorned with paintings from all periods and has a modern interior design that suggests the emotional bankruptcy of its inhabitants.
The handsome and confident Banderas effectively draws out Ledgard’s more troubling nuances. The revelations of the extent of his own monstrosity are shocking without losing the audience’s empathy for a man desperate to control his life and those around him. With Almodovar’s direction, these character relationships become a labyrinth of tension.
Combining exciting design and an adept cast, “The Skin I Live In” is a discomforting and emotional tug-of-war in which passion and darkness become two parts of the same face.
“The Skin I Live In” was directed and written by Pedro Almodovar. It is based on the book by Thierry Jonquet.
3 out of 4 stars.