Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Skin I Live in (orig. La Piel Que Habito)

MPAA (R)  Roger Ebert (3 1/2 Stars) Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars, w. parental warning)

IMDb listing -
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1189073/
Roger Ebert's review -
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111019/REVIEWS/111019982

The Skin I Live In (orig: La Piel Que Habito), directed and cowritten by Pedro Almodóvar along with Agustín Almodóvar based on the novel Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet, is one strange if _supremely elegant_ horror movie that's certainly one of the best films of the year and ought to earn Pedro Almodóvar as well as Antonio Banderas, the film's "mad scientist" star, nominations for the Oscars.

I'm heaping all this praise on a film that is subtitled (from Castillian Spanish to English) and I know that we Americans generally despise subtitled films.  Yet, adults if you like horror films at all, leave the kids at home or put them to bed -- there's way too much nudity (if with a point) for a teen to rightfully see -- and go see / rent this film. 

So what's the film about?  Set in contemporary Spain, Dr. Robert Ledgard (played by Antonio Banderas) is a renowned cosmetic surgeon living in a palatial estate outside of Toledo (a scientist who has gone mad simply has to live in a castle ...).  As much fame and fortune as his work has given him, his life has been marked by terrible tragedies.  These accumulating tragedies apparently provide the trigger that finally make him snap and exact truly unspeakable revenge, specifically on the (date?) rapist of his sweet but already troubled daughter Norma (played by Blanca Suarez), the rapist's name being Vicente (played by Juan Cornet).

To say any more about the picture would reduce its shock value.   Again, there is _a lot_ of elegant "high art" nudity in this film.  So it's a movie intended for adults and _not_ "for the little ones."  Still, between this movie and Lars von Trier's Melancholia, 2011 has been a really good year for European cinema.


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