The Skin I Live In comes to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray complete with a stunning, picture-perfect 1080 High Definition video presentation, in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen, that reflects the underlying theme of perfection in the material itself. Detail is excellent throughout, with pinpoint clarity, superior fine object detail and some impressive wider shots too. Skin textures are of prime importance here and are shown in such glory that you sometimes feel that the cast must have been photoshopped to look this good – but it’s all totally in-line with the content, and just a reflection of the intended style. Of course, aside from the perfect skin we see burn victims, artificial skin, worn and weathered older characters and healthy young skin – it’s a veritable range on offer here in accordance with the title and aforementioned themes.
In terms of digital defects there simply are none – no noticeable edge enhancement, no unruly DNR and no blocking or banding to affect your viewing pleasure. There’s a suitable level of filmic grain pervading the piece but it is constant and never unnatural, only accentuating the cinematic qualities of the movie. The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, reflecting the director’s own inimitably flamboyant style, with a whole range of bright and unusual colours on offer in everything from the setting to the sets, from the outfits to the clinical operating theatres. Every shade; every tone is given excellent, photo-realistic representation. Black levels are strong and deep and make for impressive shadowing and night-set sequences, rounding out what is a superb, easily demo-quality offering.
The accompanying DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is almost as impressive, also just edging into demo quality territory despite being far from the usual bombastic effort to garner this kind of high acclaim. Dialogue comes across precisely and distinctly, largely from the centre channel, occasionally breaking through to the frontal array. Effects are keenly observed, from the atmospherics present during the various gatherings and functions in the movie, to the general Spanish location-based elements – chirping insects keeping the nights far from quiet. By far the most impressive aspect of the track has got to be the eclectic soundtrack, however, which boasts everything from classical overtones to funky beats and is at once quirky and oppressive; playful and intrusive; light and aggressive, flipping between the polar opposite from scene to scene; minute to minute, and perfectly marrying up to the rich, exotic dish that it is dressing. With LFE content generally also coming from the score (apart from the infrequent gunshot), it is easily the most important component in the mix.
In terms of extra features, this UK Region B-locked release comes with a different set of extras to the US counterpart, which boasts a weighty, feature-length, 85-minute interview with Almodovar himself, as well as a Making-Of Featurette and some promo clips.
Here we just the 12-minute Featurette, and some promo stuff, including a Somerset House Premiere Featurette, a Production Photography Gallery and the Original Theatrical- and Teaser Trailers. It’s pretty disappointing really as, by all accounts, that hour-and-a-half interview was well worth watching.
A dark and twisted tale of obsession and beauty, isolation and identity – of epic revenge that makes The Count of Monte Cristo look like an amateur – acclaimed Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar’s latest weird but wonderful work sees him reunited with protégé Antonio Banderas after nearly two decades apart. It’s arguably one of Banderas’s finest performances – and certainly his best in a great many years – and remains yet another example of why there’s nobody who does movies quite like Almodovar. Love or hate them, they are undeniably captivating; psychologically disturbing; often veering into downright horror territory in spite of the distinct lack of visual gore. Indeed The Skin I Live In will likely get right under your skin, and make you feel thoroughly uncomfortable by the end of it all, no doubt guaranteeing a second viewing for many just to get to the heart of the matter. Recommended.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get spectacular video and audio, but a disappointing set of extras that drops the hefty 85-minute Interview which accompanied the US counterpart. If you love this movie then you’ll likely import; those intrigued should definitely consider a rental – it may not have the universal appeal to guarantee a blind buy for everybody – but it is well worth finding out.
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