Monday, February 3, 2014

The Skin I live in (La piel que habito) (2011)

Today's film is The Skin I live in, and it's from Spain.  How this movie is not on the list I will never know.  Critics don't appreciate true art.  Let's start by asking a few questions about the film.  Does this film...

...have elements of a medical drama?

...have elements of a psychological thriller?

...involve illegal human and/or animal experimentation?

...have disturbing scenes?

...have a twist no one sees coming? Antonio Banderas?

Yes it does! It has all of these elements and more.  It's a psychological thriller with disturbing scenes starring Antonio Banderas as an incredibly smart surgeon.

Christ on a bicycle this is a great movie.

The story starts out innocently enough.  A noted plastic surgeon, Dr. Robert Ledgard, is obsessed with creating a burn-proof skin, to help burn victims recuperate properly.  He does this because his wife was badly burned in a fiery car wreck.  She was holding onto a thread of life, but her husband brought her around.  He took out all the mirrors from the house, and began working on his skin project.  He worked day and night.  One day, his wife was finally strong enough to get out and open a window.  She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the windowpane, and upon seeing her grotesque features, panicked and leapt out of the window, landing right near her young daughter.

Her daughter is understandably traumatized, and has spent time in a mental hospital.  She is later sexually assaulted by a young man at a party.  I'm not giving him the benefit of the doubt, but he was on a lot of pills and probably didn't fully know what he was doing.  The daughter is so traumatized that she herself leaps out of a window in the mental hospital.  Which I'm calling bullshit because those windows are wired shut and have a thick metal sheet guarding it.  You could run full force at one and it will not budge.  Don't ask me how I know this.

Dr. Ledgard kidnaps the young man and subjects him to his horrible experiments. How far will he go?  You will have to find out.  Dr. Ledgard discovers the key to make his skin.  The key to a tougher, burn-proof skin is to mix pig-skin cells into our human-skin cells.  Pig skin is naturally tougher than ours, after all we play football with it.  This however breaks all established moral laws of the scientific community and the doctor's action are frowned upon.

No one in this film is exactly evil, like I would call a villain.  Even though their actions are not the right ones, they do them for their own ends.  So no one can be considered a "hero", and it's deeper than a traditional film of good vs. evil. I'm giving this film a 9/10.

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