Pedro Almodóvar's - 'The Skin I Live In' (2011)

Language - Spanish
Genre - Drama
Release - 2011

Pedro Almodovar's - 'The Skin I Live In'
Pedro Almodóvar, the most internationally well known Spanish director of our times, has yet again managed to push the boundaries of conventional film making. Pedro Almodóvar, and his brother Agustin Almodóvar based the screenplay of The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito) on Thierry Jonquet's 1995 novel "Mygale", and combines elements of Horror, Suspense, dark family-drama, sexual thriller and a first for Almodóvar, science fiction. The film’s narrative and it’s main characters are driven by their obsessions based on fear, lust, desire and identity. The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito) feels like a dark and intense art-house suspense-thriller, but is too mainstream in its presentation to be serious contender for top honors at International Film Festivals, including the Oscars. It did however earn a Palme d’Or nomination for  Pedro Almodóvar at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival

Elena Anaya in 'The Skin I Live In'
'The Skin I Live In' sees Almodóvar reuniting with leading man Antonio Banderas, who stars as a sucessful plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard. Robert's working towards creating a skin that is burn-resistant with the 'forced' help of his beautiful and mysterious guinea-pig Vera Cruz (Elena Anaya) who's held captive in a room with a protective suit for her 'new' skin. The only other person who shares the secret is Robert's motherly head-maid Marilia (Paredes). The opening moments are sumptuously mysterious, with a visual candor befitting fashion ad-shoots.

All hell breaks loose as Zeca (Roberto Alamo), a man in a tiger's  costume from a carnival, arrives at Robert's mansion calling on his mother Marilia. A few sexually-violent and murderous moments later, as calmness is restored, we are taken back to the troubled past of Robert's. Secrets begin to unravel as we witness the suicide of Robert's wife; a burn victim, as well as the start of the hellish odyssey for a young man named Vicente (Jan Cornet).

Anotnio Banderas in 'The Skin I Live In'Robert believes Vicente to be the reason behind the tragic fate of his mentally-unstable daughter Norma (Blanca Suárez).  Even though the final suspense  can be deciphered much before the inevitable moment, Almodóvar has you invested in the characters and how their destinies are going to shape out. Along with Almodóvar's masterful direction, meticulous in its details, the film also works by virtue of the brilliant performances by it's bankable stars. Anotonio Banderas is impeccable as a sad and troubled individual restrained in his composure. Elena Anaya is mesmerizing as a confused and 'trapped' soul Vera, the only redeemable character in this brilliant concoction by Pedro Almodóvar.