‘The Skin I Live In’: Pedro Almodovar’s horror one of the best films this year

Dr. Ledgard, played by Antonio Banderas, observes his captive patient, Vera, played by Elena Anaya.
COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Pedro Almodovar has a welcome home in the gothic horror genre. The director known for creating so many moving pieces of art has constructed a brilliant, disturbing film that doesn’t sacrifice substantial portraits of believable characters in order to deliver a truly haunting story.

A renowned but disturbed plastic surgeon unleashes his internal Dr. Frankenstein after losing his wife to the aftereffects of a terrible burning in a car accident. In the first scene, we see that he has a patient locked up in his house, peacefully performing a yoga routine, creating sculptures out of her ripped-up clothes. That placid moment takes revelatory meaning by the film’s halfway point.

And that’s what makes this film so stunning. Almodovar plays with expectations in a way that’s exhilirating and challenging. He leaks clues, little details, for the audience to put together. He doesn’t pander with obvious explanations. It’s a tremendous film.


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