Reviews: Skins [Pieles] 2017

On the outside, Skins looks like a bizarre film full of disturbing content. It’s an easy assumption to make because that is how the majority of our beauty obsessed society has been trained. While it is true the film contains graphic content, much of it can be subjective. 

Skins isn’t really a film you watch, it’s more of a film you absorb. Like all heavy films that challenges viewers to think outside the box, this movie is full of metaphors. The film deals with deformities, mental illness, and the struggle to find acceptance in a cruel narrow minded world.

Skins follows a group of troubled individual all dealing with a personal crisis. Each action made by one effects the other as all lives eventually intertwine. In many ways it is like Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece Magnolia. I'm not comparing it in terms of execution, but the story has a similarity. Most of the characters in the film suffer from some form of deformity. Some of them realistic, and other greatly abstracted for cinematic effect, such as a girl born with an anus where her mouth should be. This is the dominate disturbing factor in the film. 

If you can look past this content you'll find a project that's well executed on its own merits. For a movie that spans 17 years, it is pieced together well, and writer/ director Eduardo Casanova does a serviceable job telling a story that, although disturbing, gives viewers a proper resolution for each of its characters. This gives the movie a justified presentation, especially considering the heavy content. All too often films with similar subject matter end in depressing despair, and it’s nice to see a happy ending once in a while. One unique aspect of Skins is the color. Casanova uses colors scenes (dominantly pink and purple) as metaphorically platforms. Although there are several levels to explore for the viewer, it is an aspect that will eventually (presumably) define itself for those who are looking.

Overall, it's an impressive feature film debut for Casanova, who has several short film credits to his name. Skins began in 2015 with Casanova's short Eat My Shit. Ana Polvorosa is exceptionally impressive. Due to the unique deformity of her character Samantha, she is limited in expressing herself vocally, and conveys much of her heartache through her eyes. There are several moments in Skins that are best described as creatively disturbing. And just a forewarning, there are a few gross out scenes for your viewing pleasure. Some disgusting, others oddly humorous. 

There is one thing that is certain about Skins. It is not a film one can easily forget. Is it disturbing? Yes. But so is society. Above all the gross abstractions of this film there is a positive message. The majority of the population strives for perfection. That is the so called standard many reach for. Skins breaks that mold and exposes “society deemed” beauty standards for the farce that it is. While it may sound odd, there is a heartwarming element that is just as surprising as the bizarre content in this film.


-Lee L. Lind