La Piel que Habito (2011)
Pedro Almodovar has long since established himself as one of the, if not the, most consistently interesting European filmmaker, and unlike many other master directors of his generation, he still makes films with hunger and freshness. He continues to explore the obscure sides of sexuality, dysfunctional and unconventional human relations, and the many aspects of the human body. La Piel que Habito, about a brilliant plastic surgeon who, obsessed with the memory of his deceased wife, experiments on a woman he keeps locked up in his house, is thus typical Almodovar territory. In fact, it may well turn out to be among the most defining of Almodovar's films, as he takes us on a roller-coaster ride in narrative structuring in which his delicately intricate screenplay (based on a book by late French novelist Thierry Jonquet) alternatingly treats us to ostensible normality and complete anormality, both with regards to social situations and to character psychology. The film combines a chilling realism with a fantastical side, all the while drenched in Almodovar's playfulness which gives the film a humorous, almost kitsch undertone.
In and of itself, the plot is as complex as it is implausible, but Almodóvar's clever narrative denouement and his ability to make atypical characters behaving abnormally into deep, real people lifts the story far above face value and lays the foundation for a highly interesting and multifaceted film. Fine performances from the entire cast is the icing on this peculiar, but quite tasty cake.