This weekend at the multiplex it's the battle of the 80s remakes with sci-fi horror film THE THING (previously in theaters in 1982) vs. "everybody cut everybody cut" dance drama FOOTLOOSE (previously in theaters in 1984). The latter proudly and absurdly waves a "this is our time" tagline despite being a remake of another generation's touchstone.
But no matter. The only one that truly matters is Pedro Almodóvar's new gem THE SKIN I LIVE IN. While it's not quite on the level of his five masterworks (Law of Desire, Women on the Verge..., All About My Mother, Talk To Her, and Volver if you ask me) very few films are. Second tier Almodóvar is still better than most movies made in any given year. For his latest he's reunited with his only male muse Antonio Banderas for their sixth film together and their first since Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990) in which sexy Antonio held a beautiful woman prisoner until she loved him. Twenty-one years later and Antonio is up to his old Stockholm Syndrome tactics again. This time he's a brilliant cold plastic surgeon and the woman he's holding captive (Elena Anaya) seems to be a semi-willing guineau pig in a series of illegal surgeries which will give her flawless new skin. But why does he keep her locked up? What exactly happened to the surgeon's wife and daughter who are nowhere to be seen? How long has this been going on?
Like most Almodóvar films this one is novelistic with intriguing details that could make their own movies, has themes of identity and sexuality that are of interest to LGBT audiences, features smartly executed twists which bring the story into perverse focus, and wows with stunning imagery including simple but freakishly haunting costumes from Paco Delgado (with an assist from Jean Paul Gaultier). I hate to quote Peter Travers from Rolling Stone since his whole raison d'etre as a film critic is to be quoted but they used to promote Pedro's movies with this blurb:
"Pedro Almodóvar doesn't just make movies. Almodóvar is the movies."
A more succinct and correct appraisal I've rarely read.
More identity crises AFTER THE JUMP...