<i>The Skin I Live In</i>

© Sony Pictures Classics / 2011

A modern erotic thriller on par with the late Alain Corneau's hierarchical workplace parable Love Crime (2010) and its 2012 Brian De Palma remake Passion, The Skin I Live In (2011) is a subversive, subterranean, and underrated B side in Pedro Almodóvar's filmography. It's the movie his most ardent fans love to hate. (It is also the only film by the acclaimed Spanish auteur that has resonated with me.) Its unpredictably sadistic twists, tiger-costumed turns, and preoccupation with genetic splicing make this a mad-scientist tale fit for the 21st century. The seductively serpentine narrative has much in common with a pair of Paul Verhoeven movies, The Fourth Man (1983) and Basic Instinct (1992), two films with which Almodóvar's shares a central theme: The idea of the femme fatale as a venomous — but justified — spider.
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