Pedro Almodovar rarely makes a bad movie and The Skin I Live In is no exception. Antonio Banderas plays a doctor called Robert Legrand, who’s known for his advances in artificial skin and sex change operations. However he hides a secret, because locked away at home is a woman (Elena Anaya) he’s been doing surgical experiments on. She wants to get out, but Robert has a sophisticated security system and a dedicated mother (Marisa Parades) to keep her in. But is he keeping her in because what he’s been doing is illegal, or is there more going on?
The Skin I Live In is the sort of film where I don’t want to say too much about the plot or it’ll spoil the film’s slow reveal, but suffice to say things are not as they appears, and it all has to do with former tragedies in the doctor’s life and the destruction of his family. And it’s no coincidence the woman looks like Robert’s deceased wife.
As always with Almodovar, what at first seems fairly simple keeps going down the rabbit hole and getting increasingly complex, especially on a psychological level. He’s a master at creating scenarios where it’s impossible not to consider the ramifications of the story and what it might mean about the human condition. You may not always agree with the film, especially with what it has to say about gender and sexuality, but it raises fascinating questions that only Almodovar can handle so sensitively and interestingly.
It’s a great film, with a superb central performance from Antonio Banderas, who manages to make his character both hero and monster, and keeps you hooked as the story is slowly revealed.
Overall Verdict: Another fantastic flick from All About My Mother director Pedro Almodovar, which plays with gender ideas in a fascinating and complex way.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac