The Skin I Live In | Chicago Reader

The Skin I Live In

Rated R 117 minutes 2011

Pedro Almodovar tries his hand at psychological horror, modeling this sicko thriller on Fritz Lang's low-budget, postwar nightmares (e.g. Scarlet Street or House by the River) and, more specifically, Georges Franju's eerie Eyes Without a Face. Like the latter film, this one centers on a demented plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas), who has developed not only a revolutionary form of synthetic skin but also a serious lust for vengeance following the deaths of his wife and daughter. Assisted by production designer Antxon Gomez (Broken Embraces), Almodovar delivers his usual satiny mise-en-scene, though in this case it tends to undermine the creepy material (Lang got much better results working on a shoestring). The real problem, however, is the male protagonist and his foul inner life: Almodovar's impressive recent work has focused on the emotional intelligence of women, and though the film provides an interesting take on gender and submission, this sort of nastiness just isn't his thing.

Film Credits

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Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Producer: Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto �lamo, Eduard Fernández, Blanca Suárez, Susi Sánchez, Bárbara Lennie, Fernando Cayo and José Luis Gómez

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