The Skin I Live In

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There's a single scene in Pedro Almodvar's latest—a plastic-surgery thriller—that fully supplies the queasy sense of shock you wish the movie had more of: A gorgeous woman in a skintight bodysuit (Elena Anaya) runs with a butcher knife into a living room. In pursuit is her mad-genius doctor (Antonio Banderas), who has no plans of letting her escape. If you wish to learn the motivations behind such a moment, don't worry—they're all revealed in circuitous time, as is Almodvar's style. The problem is that the director's oblique way with a narrative makes for a blunted emotional impact, just when this tale needs it most. You never feel the burn of crazy love, certainly not the way you do in an immortal shocker like Eyes Without a Face. It's almost as if Almodvar wanted to reach out into a gory genre, but couldn't do so without wearing prissy gloves.—JR

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New York Film Festival 2011

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