Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Film Review - The Skin I Live In

Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, this Spanish thriller goes to all the darkest alleys in Wrongtown. Murder, rape, psychological and physical abuse it has it all.

Antonia Banderas plays a plastic surgeon, Robert Ledgard who develops a new skin which is much stronger than normal skin in response to the death of his wife in a car fire. The skin does not burn. It starts as a high and noble pursuit. If we learnt nothing else from Get Smart then it is that all scientific advances will at some stage they will fall into the wrong hands and be used for evil instead of good.

The question is, on which side of this equation does Robert Ledgard sit?

Almodóvar plays with the viewers sense of morals with more twists and turns, each one being more alarming than the last. Driven by grief and a sense of justice and the audience is left alternating their sympathies to and from Banderas’ character.

Even in Spanish (with English subtitles) this psychological thriller gets [literally] under the audiences skin. At best the audiences’ predictions of the plot and who did what to whom will only ever be at best half right. It shocks without the use of the typical Hollywood visually graphic scenes

Is it a must see in the cinema, possibly not. With the technology available in home theatre systems, including screen size (after all size does matter) not much would be lost from the movie in one’s own lounge.

I saw the film at Melbourne’s Nova Cinema, in cinema 13. Kudos to Nova for installing couches in this cinema. However in such a small theatre – consisting of just four rows of couches that were all quite close to the screen with a sound system which was not much more than the system I have at home. While the intimacy of the surroundings was pleasant and the couches extremely comfortable, it all seemed awkward to be watching it with 20 other people in such close surrounds.

I would only have 5 -10 people in my own house for a movie and we would all be friends.

My other challenge with cinema 13 and this film is that I was stuck behind a tall guy who also chose to sit on a booster cushion. It is very hard to follow dialogue when you can only see the beginning and end of every subtitled line.

A great movie but it is not for the squeamish or those on a first date.

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