I really got excited over Pedro Almodóvar finally tackling a genre film but I felt that he didn’t alter his style enough to completely deliver on the premise. Sure the Hitch comparison to Vertigo is on the money but the perverse angle of the second act felt like something De Palma would have fired on all cylinders with. I just thought that after the first act it never really gained a pulse.
something De Palma would have fired on all cylinders with
…and that what would have made it very cheap schlock. I don’t think it could have been done any better.
I can’t imagine any circumstances under which direction by De Palma could be considered an improvement, unless we’re talking about a film by Marshall or Snyder, but that’s a pretty meager distinction.
Maybe De Palma circa mid-eighties, but the guy hasn’t done much of worth lately.
He never did much of worth. Ever.
I don’t think it would have worked with De Palma, his view of women is so different than Pedro’s. I think De Palma would have done a bang up job on Black Swan tho.
He never did much of worth. Ever.
Come on! The De Palma faction of Mubi needs to show up! I would defend him, but I haven’t seen The Skin I Live In yet.
and that what would have made it very cheap schlock.
And I think that’s what Peter is saying – that if the film had embraced schlockiness in the brilliant way that only De Palma can do, then it would have been better! (there, I tried to stand up for De Palma regardless!)
Ditto! I really don’t understand all the De Palma hate. Yes, he’s schlocky, but that’s his MO!
“Yes, he’s schlocky, but that’s his MO!”
Don’t insult good schlock that way.
But okay, fair enough. I’ll cop to liking PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. But tripe like DRESSED TO KILL is just unforgiveable.
Dressed to Kill should have been called Sexier Psycho. And that’s awesome!
Hmmm… what do you think is the difference between good schlock and De Palma-style schlock? I have to admit that I’m fairly new to schlocky movies.
Dressed to Kill was plenty fun, as was Body Double. Carrie and Blow Out are exceptional horror/thrillers. From Hi Mom to Scarface, he’s also shown some range. Again, none of this defends his more recent output, but the guy had chops.
I’ll grant that DePalma has a command of the basics of filmmaking that incompetents like Rob Marshall and Zack Snyder couldn’t begin to think about beginning to someday getting around to have a vague idea of sharing.
Good schlock is good schlock, like FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL, or THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD. Of the De Palma I’ve seen, I’d only think of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE as good schlock, an entertaining wallow in the pop-culture trough. De Palma’s self-importance sinks tripe like DRESSED TO KILL and OBSESSION and that BLOW OUT, the delusion that there’s some serious statement being made about something. For all the pretty cinematography and “wink-wink, look, folks, I’m messing with Hitchcock” stuff, there’s less than meets the eye.
De Palma may have been able to do cheap schlock in the 70’s, but now I don’t think it would work. I think it’s very much and Almodovar film and shouldn’t be seen other than that.
Roscoe – I don’t really get any self-importance from De Palma. At least, from his films anyway (I haven’t seen or read any interviews with him). I wonder if that importance comes more from his fans than anything else.
But, yeah, I haven’t seen Skin so I think I’m kind of derailing this thread by just talking about De Palma.
I can’t imagine anyone coming up with the twisted plot that is The Skin I Live In other than Pedro.
I would have to say no to Brian De Palma directing The Skin I Live In. Almodovar seemed fit for the material, even though the end result was disappointing. The movie wasn’t schlock (premature argument there, Drunken Father), and De Palma doesn’t produce schlock, either. It’s funny that we talk about De Palma producing schlock, because in a way, the same happened to Hitchcock. Before we considered Vertigo to be one of the greatest films of all time, during his time, Hitchcock was somewhat dismissed as a guy who made nonsense (there’s probably a better word) dramatic thrillers every year and nothing else. No one paid attention that he loved to experiment with film styles or manipulate his audience. The same, I believe, is happening to De Palma in the form of these debates we’re having on whether he makes cheap, rip-off trash or a great artist by his own right. I say the latter, and hope that the same fate that befalls Hitchcock’s artistic rep in the present happens to his too.
There. I derailed it, Drunken Father. Now to put back together the tracks, De Palma should not direct The Skin I Live In.
Slamming De Palma is just about as popular as throwing Nic Cage under the bus these days.
Anyways I just think that Pedro flirts with the pulpy aspects of the story where De Palma would have relished making them more operatic. When you think of De Palma at his best it is often great set pieces that have a huge emotional impact. That should have been applied more heavily by Pedro.
I was ahead of the curve — I’ve been trashing DePalma since 1980, when DRESSED TO KILL came out. Tedious over-done bullshit, from start to finish, as is way too much of his work. I’ll never forget or forgive DRESSED TO KILL or the unspeakable BODY DOUBLE.
I love me some DePalma (I’m excitedly going to a screening of The Fury later this week), but I’m perfectly fine with how Almadovar handled the material…as only Almadovar could.
oh wow The Fury on the big screen? lucky you there’s a scene I’ll never forget from that film still in my nightmares…there are no Pedro scenes I will “never forget” like that
Skin was perfect however just as it was I only really reconciled to this at a second viewing, I wanted a different ending first time round
“I was ahead of the curve — I’ve been trashing DePalma since 1980, when DRESSED TO KILL came out. Tedious over-done bullshit, from start to finish, as is way too much of his work. I’ll never forget or forgive DRESSED TO KILL or the unspeakable BODY DOUBLE.”
I never understood the fuss about Dressed To Kill. To me it plays like bad giallo.
Though I can’t say that I’ve ever been a fan of De Palma, I’ll suffice to say that his style would have been in a more direct thriller mode with an emphasis on eroticism. Although sex is certainly a key element in the film, Pedro is far too crafty an artist to just make a thriller. The themes are NOT erotic. They are about the power plays between partners in sex. There’s a reason that rape plays a key role twice in the film.
The Banderas character vacillates between being a cold doctor to grieving father and husband to demented egomaniac who attempts to control not just his victim’s sex but to recreate someone long lost to him. There are elements of horror in here, but it goes in a creepier direction. You can almost see it coming full circle to an incredibly twisted “happy ending” where the changed victim is reunited with a woman who had previously rejected his advances. I don’t see De Palma having the nerve to go in that direction.
I definitely agree that DePalma would have done a better job with Black Swan. Hell, I would love to see that. But The Skin I Live In benefited from being so elegant and restrained. Almodovar was carrying on the tradition of Cocteau, Franju, or Tourneur whereas DePalma belongs more to the tradition of Hitchcock and Peckinpah who were more visceral in the approach. DePalma never asks his audience to take him too seriously, whereas Almodovar does. I love De Palma, but his sensibilities are different from Almodovar’s and it was Almodovar’s approach to his material that I loved.
As for Dressed to Kill playing like a bad giallo; that’s the appeal of it for me and a lot of others. De Palma elevates his trashy material to pop art.
The skin i live in would have been bullshit even if Fritz Lang or C.T. Dreyer were the directors.