review of La Piel que Habito aka The Skin I Live In (2011)
It is a known fact that I like Pedro Almodóvar films.
I would go so far as to say I love them. In particular, I love Volver, which is in my top ten films of all time. It's not surprising that I like him so much given that he is quite good at promoting women and their issues in a positive light. In other words, he writes kick-ass roles for us ladies!
It is true that he can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) is admittedly not a great film, and I imagine him to be a flamboyant perfectionist and difficult character to work with but I think that adds to the glorious imagination of film-making that he gives to the world.
He has an eye for imagery and he selects beautiful objects for us to view, not least Penelope Cruz, an Almodóvar stalwart who always looks beautiful, but even more so when shot by Almodóvar. In this, his new film he has beauty all sewn up (literally), with the actress Elena Anaya, who is astonishing to look at in every scene she steals.
Darren and I went to see this at the weekend and both of us loved it. Mainly because:
a. it is a visual feast
b. it's an original (if slightly crazy) story
c. Antonio Banderas is in it
d. we didn't get the twist
e. we DID NOT get the twist!!!
I mean we watch a lot of movies and like to think of ourselves as seasoned film buffs, so usually one of us twigs on to what is going to happen pretty early on in a film, especially Hollywood films, and we didn't see it coming....but then, who would.
Visually the film is Almodóvarian stunning.
It is set in a house which is decorated in what I consider to be his true style; bright colours, big artwork, modern decor. It's interesting to see how his interiors have changed over time but also stayed pretty much the same. This house has just the right amount of style to suit Antonio Banderas as the crazy plastic surgeon, Robert Ledgard; a character who Banderas called "a monster, a facist" in an interview at this year's Cannes Film Festival. And he's not wrong about that you know.
For Banderas, The Skin I Live In (2011) is a return to Almodóvar after more than twenty years away from the man most often credited with his success and he couldn't have picked a better role.
He is one of those that looks good with an aura of deranged calmness; sleek, tanned and good-looking, definitely part of the reason you don't realise what monster lurks beneath until it's too late...eek look behind you!
In summary and apologies its taken me so long to get here, La Piel que Habito (2011) is a dark and menacing film which looks stunning, has an outstandingly original storyline, great actors, beautiful cinematography and a plot twist that you will never get.