Pieles (Skins)

2017 drama

Rating: 12/20

Plot: People with various deformities live their lives.

I'm not sure who is going to love this if I didn't. This is the sort of project where it seems like Eduardo Casanova made it with me in mind for his audience. Lavish color schemes? Little people? Hopelessly obese nudity? Fart jokes? A naked old lady? Mermaid references? A silly animal costume? It seems like it should be right up my alley!

There really is quite a bit to like here. This is director Casanova's first feature, and I'm pretty sure I'd be willing to dive into anything he does in the future. And that's despite the guy looking like this:

Looking him up, I noticed that he was born a year before I graduated from high school which is a little depressing. You can see the potential the guy has. The use of color--all those pinks and lavenders are intoxicating--and his courage to take chances in this first major project impresses. Skins boasts the most challenging assortment of characters since perhaps Freaks, conventionally-attractive actors and actresses caked in tons of make-up rather than appearing in anything close to their natural state. There's an automatic weirdness to any movie featuring so many characters with deformities, but it's an in-your-face weirdness that just isn't quite as effective as the subtle kind of thing that Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos has going with movies like Dogtooth or The Lobster. Casanova (a surname that I'm starting to doubt is his real one) is effective with his dark humor when things are subtle, working in some nice irony in a few moments, but there are times when he went just a bit too far. There's a scatalogical moment that is not much fun to watch, and a fart joke that just didn't need to be there. Of course, there was also a ridiculous unicorn mask that gave me one of the better laughs I've had in a while. But throw in some references to Facebook and Instagram that just didn't seem to jibe with the sorta twisted fairy tale tone of this movie, an embarrassing special effect complete with lipstick, and some terrible music, and you've got a film that is just a little bit too inconsistent to be good.

There's a great little person performance. Vanessa, who suffers from achondoplasia, is really good as a character tortured by the role of Pinkoo that she's been forced into playing. She's played by Ana Maria Ayala in what is her only movie role so far. The characters aren't really the issue with this although I'd admit they probably aren't a collection of characters that would appeal to everybody. There's a girl with her anus and mouth switched around, a guy with Body Identify Integrity Disorder (which might exist) who wants to be a mermaid, that hopelessly obese lady I mentioned before, a woman with a face that appears to be melting, the burn victim she shares a boisterous sex scene with, a girl with no eyes, and a guy who jerks off to pictures of deformed people. I enjoyed watching their stories intertwine, sometimes in ingenious ways. I'm just not sure if there's any depth to the whole thing. Other than any obvious--and probably childish and naive--ideas about people's physical appearances, this doesn't seem to have that much to say.

I would definitely recommend it to anybody who really likes pinks and purples though.

My favorite bit of dialogue:

Guy: "Why did he want to be a mermaid?"
Woman: "Because he was a son of a bitch."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Samantha character was a bit much, and the fart joke lost me a little bit otherwise I really liked this. I will have to give it another watch before i can say anything about the cohesion or motivation.
Casanova has directed quite a few shorts didn't know this was his first feature. Impressive. also didn't know this was Ana-Marie's first movie. Also impressive.
Thanks for the recommendation.