They say only two things should be government mandated in this world: health care and transportation.
As for justice–well, personal revenge is the only revenge. There’s something cold and unsatisfying about our law system–and the best films reflect a more intimate form of reparation (M, Hour of the Gun, The Last House on the Left) that gets to the source of the insult. Grief is terrible, unabateable: but revenge is lovely, and only nature seems to reap it.
The Skin I Live In is, appropriately, a tale of revenge most unnatural–while trying to sort out for itself what ‘natural’ is. No surprise that with Almodovar it’s going to be left quite broad. Skin–as you may have guessed–has something to do with it.
Without giving too much away–The Skin I Live in can be called (and probably has been, in some other review) a delightful romp through skin mutation and unelected surgery. Antonio “Camp” Banderas returns to the fold as a grieved surgeon with big plans for the future of burn victims. However, burn victims probably don’t want to be helped by Antonio Banderas, who attacks his purpose with all the savagery of Edmond Dantès. He does look much sexier than the viewer remembers, and plays his part with less membrane-bulging intensity than in days of yore.
Is the plot believable? No, but that’s never been Almodovar’s strength, which is instead his tireless ability to weave a good Labyrinth of Passion and leave the viewer almost completely unannoyed by the holes in the plot. That said, this latest venture leaves us with one lingering question: How does a surgeon get access to such an impressive dungeon?
In any case, The Skin I Live In is entirely satisfying, in the way that revenge stories, speaking to our inner Scarlet Pimpernel, always are. The punishment, if it doesn’t actually fit the crime, at least reflects it extremely well. Would that all revenge plots were staged to such an exacting degree.