Shocking. Disgusting? Compelling. Humourous?
These are just some of the words you might use to describe The Skin I Live In, directed by Pedro Aldmovar.
The film is centres around Robert Ledgard (played by Antonio Banderas), a plastic surgeon (with an in-home private practice), who is developing new methods for growing and attaching artificial skin to patients who have suffered severe burns, or who require face transplants.
We first get the hint that Ledgard has been un-ethically experimenting with his ideas on humans when we encounter Vera, dressed in a full skin coloured body suit, designed to encourage secure attachment of new skin to the body of burn victims. Her skin is surprisingly smooth, yet extremely tough (like pig skin – Ledgar uses pig DNA to create artificial skin).
We soon find out that something is all very wrong with this situation. Without giving away too much, we learn about the tragedies that have befallen Ledgard regarding the death of his wife and daughter.
Then an act of revenge takes place, the full extent of which unfolds in a compellingly unusual way. The perpetrator and the sufferer seem to be confused in their roles.
If you’ve read or seen film versions of Wuthering Heights or The Count of Monte Cristo, (where epic acts of revenge take result after years of careful planning and execution) you’ll think Robert Ledgard puts Heathcliff and Edmond Dantes to shame!
Love, and having it viciously taken away from us, can lead us to do crazy things. What Ledgard does is pure madness!
I highly recommend seeing this film. The pace of the plot is perfectly timed with the unravelling of the twists and turns that unfold. You need not fear gore (a la The Human Centipede). You can expect to laugh. You will be shocked, but also compelled to see what happens in the end. A very unusual, but good film.