The Reflecting Skin

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Set amid the golden corn of the '50s Midwest, Ridley's directorial debut (he scripted The Krays) confronts 'the nightmare of childhood'. Virtually ignored by his neurotic mother and ineffectual father, eight-year-old Seth (Cooper) creates a world of his own, imagining that reclusive English-woman Dolphin Blue (Duncan) is a vampire, and that the foetus he finds in a barn is his dead friend transformed into an earth-bound angel. Reality begins to seep in when Seth's father is accused of murdering children who have gone missing in the area, and Seth's older brother (Mortensen) returns from the Pacific with tales of a bomb that explodes like a second sun. The complex, non-linear narrative is almost operatic in its visual and emotional excess, employing exaggerated camera angles, saturated colours and an ultra-loud soundtrack to create a heightened, sometimes dangerously portentous reality. Admirably ambitious but, one suspects, a little overripe for English sensibilities.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Philip Ridley
Screenwriter: Philip Ridley
Cast: Viggo Mortensen
Lindsay Duncan
Jeremy Cooper
Sheila Moore
Duncan Fraser
Evan Hall

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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