The pride of Franken­stein

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - E Guide Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

HERE comes an­other blast of catchily con­vo­luted soap- opera sur­re­al­ism from cel­e­brated Span­ish di­rec­tor Pe­dro Almod­ovar

( All About My Mother).

While def­i­nitely one of the film­maker’s lesser works, this proudly odd melo­drama never re­sorts to go­ing through the mo­tions.

The story of The Skin I Live In is driven by Dr Robert Ledgard ( An­to­nio Ban­deras, pic­tured), a bril­liant plas­tic sur­geon close to achiev­ing a rad­i­cal break­through in his field.

Should Ledgard per­fect the man­u­fac­ture and ap­pli­ca­tion of ar­ti­fi­cial hu­man skin, money, fame and for­tune will be his for the tak­ing.

How­ever, be­ing some­thing of a moody ( and kinky) mad- sci­en­tist type, there is al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity this cold and awk­ward man is pur­su­ing his re­search with darker mo­tives in mind.

Pos­si­bil­ity? No, make that cer­tainty. This is an Almod­ovar film, for cry­ing out loud.

So once we spend a lit­tle qual­ity time in­side the Ledgard ha­cienda – a creepy, gated man­sion staffed by a harsh ser­vant- cumwar­den named Mar­ilia ( Marisa Pare­des) – the cat is well and truly out of the bag. But wait, there’s more. What of Vera ( Elena Anaya), a beau­ti­ful pa­tient pos­si­bly be­ing held against her will in­side Ledgard’s plush home lab­o­ra­tory?

Per­haps the sur­prise in­cur­sion of a cos­tumed in­truder will hold the key to her mys­tery.

If not, Almod­ovar has plenty of bizarre flash­backs at the ready. The clues you need to com­plete your in­ves­ti­ga­tion are in there some­where.

Long- time Almod­ovar devo­tees will gladly give into the heady con­fu­sion sure to de­scend and in­ten­sify as the film wears on.

Less com­mit­ted view­ers may be left lament­ing a lack of ac­ces­si­ble humour to pro­ceed­ings. The best way through in these cir­cum­stances is to fo­cus on the eerie smoul­der Ban­deras in­jects into his per­for­mance.

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