Antonio Banderas, Blanca Suarez, Marisa Paredes, Roberto Alamo, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet, Susi Sanchez, Barbara Lennie and Eduard Fernandez.
Who would have thought Almodovar would try something like this? He is one of those Foreign directors i was always fascinated from, his work i may have not seen quite frankly but i get him and i feel like i know everything about him and his style. A big fan of old Almodovar movies and recently i remember watching Volver which is one of his best. Almodovar is considered a woman's director as much of his work revolves around that term or something close to it. The Skin i Live In may not be what a fan of Almodovar is used to but nevertheless they would still be impressed by it. This movie may lack the emotional depth or involvement because it is quite chilling and cold but no matter how much if a fantasy it has, you still go with it. I completely disagree with people just calling it a sci-fi horror thriller because it has melodrama too, just in a new way or form. Most of the recent directors avoid such a mash ups but he is a one fearless guy who clearly don't. I have heard this movie is loosely based on a novel Tarantula which by its title sound quite intriguing. This movie marks the return of Banderas-Almodovar after 21 years as they used to work together a lot. A bit about the story of the movie which revolves around a surgeon Robert Ledgard who develops a kind of artificial skin that can survives fire burns, later we learn about his past that the reason his wife died was because of a fire in a car accident. She couldn't stand seeing her burned face in the mirror and one day, she jumps off the window and commits suicide. So back to him, he has this facility or a lab at his big estate where he does all the research and have just tested that skin on a mice.
What we see then is that he have held captive a woman named Vera played by Elena Anaya with the help of his servant Marilia. Her criminal and psychotic son one day seeks refugee in the house as police are after him when Robert is away by force holding his mother to a chair when he finds that a woman is held in the house, he goes to her room while she tries to protect herself but fails. Vera is raped by Zeca but Robert returns at time, he finds out about it and kills Zeca. Marilia tells Vera the truth that she is mother to both Zeca and Robert by different men and that is something they don't know about and after this she tells Vera the real motivation behind Robert's experiments which is his wife's suicide of course. Not just that but he also had a daughter who witnessed the death of her mother who after the incident required psychiatric treatment and died after something i wont reveal. So this is as far as i could reveal the plot but i certainly wont get into the big twists and turns because i don't wanna ruin that for you even though this movie have been out for months. I would say that it is really the same old Almodovar exploring his usual themes much deeper like loneliness, betrayal, sexual identity, genetic traits, secrets, lies and things like that. What makes it different is obviously a new setting and story. As much fantasy the whole plot seems but it has real emotions behind it. In a world such as ours anything is possible, science and technology have reached a place where impossible is possible. What if loneliness, anxiety, sadness and death of someone a person loved drives him or her to do something to kind of fill that space that created after they left them. In this case, through science and labs experiments. I don't see how Robert Ledgard is different from us, he is the same, with same emotions as ours but just doing something we wont do.
This movie so much more than the usual body horror or something but how deep and far a person can go, there is always a monster inside us which can drive us to do crazy things. In this story, Robert is a monster who does this twisted bizarre thing just to ease of the pain. I loved the whole setting of the movie with brilliant cinematography, art direction and most of all the background score. Alberto Iglesias gives a superb score to this movie, it is something i found quite compelling and cinematic. I nominated it in my own awards because i literally thought it was one of the best i have ever heard. It goes with the movie, the plot and simply makes them fascinating. I mean frankly speaking that house is literally a horror house with these people who may not look like psycho characters from horror movie but they are. The brilliance of those technical things makes the movie very cinematic and amazing. Screenplay is written very good with a slowly building and slow burning plot that grabs you in it and leaves you speechless and shattered when the big twist is revealed. This movie is not very flashy so that horrific revelations don't come as a creeps you out of your skin type but it certainly leaves you shocked in a way you don't believe that just happened. Movie goes to this flashback suddenly through the middle of the movie that reveals the past of Vera and how she became a part Robert's experiment and what actually made Robert do it or take this big step.
Antonio Banderas is as seductive and charming as he was and delivers a good performance for a character who is dark, deep, unpredictable but with a disturbing past that drives him to this madness. Elena Anaya is very beautiful and good looking while delivering a surprising good performance as the subject of this larger than life experiment. A very good suspense drama with very sick, twisted and bizarre arthouse fiction treatment that still holds the same Almodovar touch even if it can be a bit distracting or not so easily digestible by most of the viewers. it is not one of his best but certainly not a bad one either. The Skin i Live In easily reminds you of David Lynch movies but with more melodrama than his.