The Skin I Live In screams Almodóvar. The director has once again challenged sexuality and raised many questions about identity, morality and science in the first film to reunite Almodóvar and Banderas since Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (1990).
This bizarre take on the 2003 crime novel Mygale (Tarantula) by Thierry Jonquet adapted by Pedro and his brother Agustin, sees ruthless plastic surgeon Robert (Banderas), shape his life around revenge and fascination. Robert is devoted to creating a new skin resistant to pain and heat and he conducts experiments on his human guinea pig to this end. This test subject is Vera, a young, perfectly sculpted girl who is locked in a room in his Madrid home.
As in many of Almodóvar’s melodramas, – dubbed “almodramas” – he uses flash backs to tell family secrets. We learn more about Robert, his wife who died and their dysfunctional daughter which leads us to understand the tragic loss in Robert’s life. The film leaves you questioning who is the villain and who is the victim.
To go into too much depth would ruin the viewing experience. But we are well and truly thrown down the twisted Almodóvar rabbit hole that is crazier than anyone could imagine. It keeps us gripped to the very end. Anyone who has seen an Almodóvar film knows to expect lush furnishings, colourful set design, rich flesh tones, intense performances, and much more. This film is a must see in order to appreciate the effort that Almodóvar continuously devotes to his style.
Pedro Almodóvar has spent a career making bold and confident films, finding the pleasure in perversity and his 18th feature does not let him down. It is truly a film that only he could have directed.