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Review: The Skin I Live In

A sensuous, sinister tale of a plastic surgeon
By SHEILA JOHNSTON  |  October 25, 2011
4.0 4.0 Stars



Pedro Almodóvar applies all his hypnotic control to a sensuous, sinister tale of a plastic surgeon who kidnaps a beautiful woman in order to shroud her in experimental skin. It's based on Thierry Jonquet's novel, Mygale (a/k/a Tarantula), spiked with a dash of Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face, a finger of Frankenstein, a slug of Hitchcock, and more. Yet this is unarguably Almodóvar's work, with its transgender wanderings, macabre humor, serpentine flashbacks, lustrous imagery, and tormented teams of mothers and sons, fathers and daughters. It's a pleasure to see the director back with his male muse, the star of his radical early films, for the first time in more than 20 years. Antonio Banderas's intoxicating blend of suave and savage has rarely been harnessed in Hollywood (he's currently purring away in Puss in Boots). But, as the ultimate fanatical scientist, he blasts here at full throttle. Elena Anaya is luminous and enigmatic as his — apparently — complicit victim.

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  •   REVIEW: IMMORTALS  |  November 10, 2011
    In Ancient Greece a stonemason is plucked from obscurity to battle evil while a posse of beautiful gods looks on from their fabulous Olympian penthouse, before plunging earthwards to kick mortal butt.
  •   REVIEW: THE SKIN I LIVE IN  |  October 25, 2011
    Pedro Almodóvar applies all his hypnotic control to a sensuous, sinister tale of a plastic surgeon who kidnaps a beautiful woman in order to shroud her in experimental skin.

 See all articles by: SHEILA JOHNSTON