Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Alternate Best Actor 2011: Antonio Banderas in The Skin I Live In

Antonio Banderas did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Dr. Robert Ledgard in The Skin I Live In.

The Skin I Live In is a flawed though effective thriller about a plastic surgeon and the captive in his home.

Antonio Banderas is not commonly known best for his dramatic work, and in the past I'd say his best performance has been one that focused on an outgoing charm, which was in The Mask of Zorro. That is not the focus of his performance here, and apparently director Pedro Almodóvar asked him to tone down his usual style for this role. Now to properly detail this role I will note that I must spoil the film's twist in order to see how effective Banderas's approach to the role is. Chronologically speaking Dr. Ledgard at this earliest point is a man inflicted with tragedy. This begins when his wife is permanently scarred by a car accident who then proceeds to commit suicide. This is only compounded later when he believes he sees his daughter being raped by a man Vicente (Jan Cornet). Banderas in these scenes is properly affecting as he realizes the way the man's heart is ripped from is body. Banderas portrays this though as a change for Legard as his sadness turns to palatable rage after his daughter also commits suicide.

The target of the rage becomes the man Vincente who he decides to enact a peculiar form of punishment. The early stages of this Banderas portrays directly as a fierce hatred in the doctor, and is quite piercing in showing the way Ledgard has been absorbed by his desire for vengeance. Ledgard though does not go about killing the man, or even torturing him in the normal way. In fact Ledgard seems to specifically use proper anesthetic when going about his form of torture. In his first act he gives Vincente a vaginoplasty. During this process Banderas still shows the single mindedness in Ledgard as the act seems solely driven by revenge. Ledgard does not stop there though despite Vincente repeated attempts to commit suicide, which Ledgard overrides simply by always repairing his wounds. Ledgard though continues to proceed which more operations as well as attempts to change Vincente wholly in body and mind a woman Vera (Elena Anaya). During this process though Ledgard also changes as Banderas gradually alters Ledgard's emotional state during the manipulations.

This is a natural transition made by Banderas's work as he shows the rage that originally propelled the doctor's first act against Vincente/Vera dissipates over time. Banderas portrays Ledgard interactions with Vincente/Vera change from violent hatred to a gentle love. The viciousness of his original reactions to his patient wain for something else entirely to replace them Banderas depicts such a tenderness at times as Ledgard goes about repairing whatever self inflicted wounds Vincente/Vera might have sustained, as he begins to suggest a warmth of the very least a loving caregiver if not a loving hussband. Banderas though goes further than that though as he also shows in these moments as Ledgard as a master craftsman going about his work. Banderas eyes fill with a genuine pride of man who believes he's creating his masterpiece, though he works with flesh rather than paints or clay. Banderas's approach is fascinating as he presents a most unique transformation of his own as a man who becomes a most unusual monster.

Banderas is compelling in the way he manages to subvert the usual expectation of such a role, in that he becomes far more disturbing the more affectionate he becomes. Banderas's performance realizes so well the chilling achievement in Ledgard's experiment, by presenting the joy the man gets from it. Again this is notable in that there's not a hint of sadism after a certain point, yet Banderas makes it all the more off-putting by revealing the acceptance in Ledgard that he is essentially personally creating a replacement for his wife out of another human being. Banderas by purging his usually far broader style enables a most unusual yet intriguing approach to such a role. Banderas successfully manifests the more traditionally positive emotions to create a repellent portrait of a man permanently altering another's existence in order to complete his own. 

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

He was great, the best performance I've seen from him.
Louis: What are your thoughts on the special effects of King Kong (1933)?

Michael McCarthy said...

Yeesh, I better post predictions. I wanted to wait a while since the only ones I've seen are Gyllenhaal, Mullan and Fiennes. Gyllenhaal's a solid action lead and nothing more, and Mullan was very strong but I gotta say his co-star was quite a bit more memorable. I don't understand why people are so down on Fiennes, there's waaaaaay more going on in that performance than just loud yelling.

1. Woody Harrelson
2. Ralph Fiennes
3. Michael Smiley
4. Antonio Banderas
5. Jakub Gierszal

1. Matthias Schoners
2. Daniel Henshall
3. Peter Mullan
4. Michael Fassbender
5. Jake Gyllenhaal

Louis, can I get your top ten films of 1958, 1981 and 1986?

Calvin Law said...

I once saw a DVD in Hong Kong which listed Banderas as the lead of Braveheart. Funny but I can actually see a slight resemblance as to how the pirates mixed them up.

But yeah really need to check this out.

Alex Marqués said...

LOL that would've been interesting

Alex Marqués said...

1.Harrelson
2.Smiley
3.Fiennes
4.Banderas
5.Gierszal

1.Schoenaerts
2.Mullan
3.Henshall
4.Fassbender
5.Gyllenhaal

JackiBoyz said...

What were the flaws with the film Louis?
1. Woody Harrelson
2. Ralph Fiennes
3. Michael Smiley
4. Antonio Banderas
5. Jakub Gierszal

1. Matthias Schoenaerts
2. Daniel Henshall
3. Peter Mullan
4. Jake Gyllenhaal
5. Michael Fassbender

Calvin Law said...

1. Harrelson
2. Fiennes
3. Banderas
4. Smiley
5. Gierszal

I have a feeling Louis will take to Fiennes, not that Banderas did worse than expected.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Obviously they are dated yet still very impressive not only for the time but even now in terms of the images they help craft.

Michael:

1958:

1. Touch of Evil
2. Vertigo
3. The Hidden Fortress
4. Ashes and Diamonds
5. Run Silent, Run Deep
6. The Ballad of Narayama
7. The Horse's Mouth
8. A Night to Remember
9. Dunkirk
10. Teacher's Pet

1981:

1. Chariots of Fire
2. Gallipoli
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
4. Das Boot
5. Blow Out
6. An American Werewolf in London
7. Pennies From Heaven
8. Thief
9. The Road Warrior
10. Escape From New York

1986:

1. Blue Velvet
2. Aliens
3. The Fly
4. Platoon
5. The Great Mouse Detective
6. Big Trouble in Little China
7. Little Shop of Horrors
8. Mona Lisa
9. Stand By Me
10. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

JackiBoyz:

The main flaw is just through a single character who's only in one scene, though it's extended scene. Though the main concept obviously is not all that subtle to begin with, the character just is full on camp and messes with the tone in a detrimental fashion. What's worse is that you probably could entirely remove the scene and it really wouldn't matter to the story.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: This review was quite quick to appear =D, you really are up for ten reviews.

1. Woody Harrelson
2. Ralph Fiennes
3. Michael Smiley
4. Antonio Banderas
5. Jakub Gierszal

1. Matthias Schoenaerts
2. Daniel Henshall
3. Peter Mullan
4. Michael Fassbender
5. Jake Gyllenhaal

Calvin Law said...

Here's hoping to 1958 you'll love Ice Cold in Alex, a film I'm always tempted to give the win over Vertigo.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: for 1986, has Hannah and Her Sisters fallen out of your top 10?

Anonymous said...

Children of a Lesser God as well?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Hacksaw Ridge trailer.

94dfk1 said...

Thank you for answering my request in the previous past. Where would you put 2014 amongst the ranking though? That year is missing from the list lol.

94dfk1 said...

Hacksaw Ridge looks amazing. With that film and Scorsese's Silence, Garfield's career is going to enter a whole other level. And I wouldn't be surprised to see him nominated for Best Actor for either one.

Calvin Law said...

Hacksaw Ridge better not disappoint. That was a pretty awesome trailer. I think Garfield's voice/accent will take a bit of getting used to, but he seems perfectly cast. Also glad to see Sam Worthington has a pretty substantial role.

Michael McCarthy said...

So I just watched Kill List...

What. The fuck. Was that last act.

After I watch Suicide Room later I'm definitely changing my predictions. Smiley's good for most of the movie but that ludicrous ending causes the character to go absolutely nowhere.

Calvin Law said...

Anyone watched the trailer for Split? Interesting to see what McAvoy will do with the role.

RatedRStar said...

Michael McCarthy: Oh no you are going to watch Suicide Room, please don't expect ten out of ten material lol its just a little film that means so much to me and probably nobody else, Dominik is basically me lol I keep saying that but its mostly true xD I would love to see your opinion on it though.

Louis: You ever wanted to see Eyes Without A Face (1960) with Pierre Fresnay in the Banderas role =D.


RatedRStar said...

Louis: Pierre Brasseur I mean lol

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: What's your rating and thoughts on Robert Ryan in The Naked Spur?

Anonymous said...

Matt: Ryan is a 5 for The Naked Spur.
Louis' thoughts: All of the Stewart/Mann westerns should have had him as the villain instead of Arthur Kennedy because Ryan shows how it is done. Ryan can play a heavy in his sleep but this is one of the best examples of it. He actually cuts back on the menace here instead he gives an incredibly charismatic portrayal of his character's casual manner and Ryan makes it completely believable the way his character manipulates almost everyone.

RatedRStar said...

Kill List sorta goes from low key creepy assassination film to The Wicker Man, I will give the film credit though that the film certainly shocked me in that regard, I think Louis will love it though.

Calvin Law: The trailer looks really creepy, James McAvoys voice is pretty unverving too, so I get excited and then I realise that useless idiot is behind the camera, I hope it succeeds but I have no confidence in anything other than James.

Luke Higham said...

Saw Jason Bourne, It was fine, nothing more.

Michael McCarthy said...

I don't think Louis is gonna go for Kill List, at least not the ending. That whole sequence comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with the rest of the plot, it's not even tonally consistent.

Michael McCarthy said...

Welp, thanks to iTunes shitting the bed on me I probably won't get to watch Suicide Room for a few days, unless someone (Daniel) knows of a link where I can watch with subs. So here's my prediction change:

1. Harrelson
2. Fiennes
3. Banderas
4. Smiley
5. Gierszal

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'll change my prediction as the same order as Michael's.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Who would be your cast and director for:
Angel Heart and Silver Linings Playbook (1950's version)
Lincoln and Mystic River (1960's version)

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

That's my list.

Anonymous:

Angel Heart directed by Charles Laughton

Harry Angel: Charles Bronson
Louis Cyphre: Robert Mitchum
Margaret Krusemark: Mercedes McCambridge
Ethan Krusemark: Charles Laughton

Sliver Linings Playbook directed by Billy Wilder

Pat: Tony Curtis
Tiffany: Lee Grant
Pat Sr.: Victor McLaglen
Dolores: Spring Byington
Danny: Danny Kaye

Lincoln directed by William Wyler

Abraham Lincoln: Laurence Olivier (Purposefully avoided those who already played him)
Mary Todd Lincoln: Bette Davis
William Slade: Robert Earl Jones
Robert Todd Lincoln: Robert Duvall
Ulysses Grant: Lee J. Cobb
Corporal Ira Clark: James Earl Jones
Edwin Stanton: Ed Begley
William Seward: Ralph Richardson
Fernanado Wood: Christopher Plummer
George H. Pendleton: Edward G. Robinson
James Ashley: Brad Dexter
Clay Hawkins: Harry Carey Jr.
Francis Preston Blair: Raymond Massey
William Bilbo: Peter Ustinov
Alexander Stephens: Burgess Meredith
Thaddeus Stevens: John Carradine

Mystic River directed by John Huston

Jimmy Markum: Jack Palance
Dave Boyle: Montgomery Clift
Sean Devine: William Holden
Detective Powers: James Whitmore
Celeste Boyle: Jennifer Jones
Annabeth Markum: Jane Greer
Brendan Harris: Scott Glenn
Mr. Loonie: Peter Lorre

Calvin Law said...

Damn Louis, that Lincoln cast and the Silver Linings Playbook leads are terrific choices.

I know it was a few posts back, but instead of Ryan Gosling for Robert Redford's role in The Sting I'd actually go for Dane DeHaan.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: I've noticed you've listed Brian Cox for his excellent performance in The Escapist? Could I have your thoughts/rating on his performance, as well as those of Cooper, Cunningham, Fiennes, Jorge and above all, Damian Lewis? It's such an incredibly ensemble, and whenever someone tells me Damian Lewis simply could not play Bond because he can't pull off the intimidating side of the character, I point to this performance.

Deiner said...

Great review Louis. I wasn't expecting this kind of performance from him and much less liking him this much. What are your thoughts and rating on the film itself and the rest of the cast?

Calvin Law said...

Jason Bourne. Standard action thriller bolstered by some clever setpieces, which help to overcome a rather bland script.

Damon - 3.5 (another rock-solid outing as Bourne, though with significantly less dramatic an arc than before since he's effectively set in his ways, does have a few fantastic emotional moments and carries the film well)

Vikander - 3 (verging on a 3.5, seems a bit miscast at the outset but she gradually grows into a bit of a thankless role, developing her arc well, and her last two scenes verge on being pretty great)

Jones - 2.5 (good at being the strict authoritarian figure but wasted)

Cassel - 2.5 (menacing enough but also wasted)

Ahmed - 3 (also technically wasted, but he does add a bit of character to the proceedings and intrigues me as to how they'll employ his character if they do make a sequel)

Giuseppe Fadda said...

Do you think that Eva Marie Saint is leading or supporting in North by Northwest?

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw Captain Fantastic. Strange film, but I think I liked it. Viggo is totally wonderful and is very easily my Best Actor win at the moment.

Alex Marqués said...

It looked interested by the trailer, good to know that Viggo did good.

94dfk1 said...

"Jones - Good at being the strict authoritarian figure."

Any against-type performances by Jones worth watching where he doesn't play Texas citizens or said authoritarian figures? A The Dude type of character, for example.

Matt Mustin said...

I don't know if Tommy Lee Jones *can* go off-type. That's not a knock against him, because he's one of my favourite actors, it's just some actors have a very specific type that they're best at.

Calvin Law said...

I would say actually that JFK is the most atypical performance of his I've seen. I like him just fine in general, not as much as Matt but he's certainly one of the most solid character actors around.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Well he tried in the 90's... with Blown Away and Batman Forever.

Robert MacFarlane said...

His performance in JFK is atypical of him. I also think he's the worst performance in that movie by a large margin.

Matt Mustin said...

I gotta quickly say the reason he's one of my favourite actors is because I always enjoy watching him (except Batman Forever). When he's just doing his standard Tommy Jee Jones shtick, I tend to find that very enjoyable all the time, and then when he's given a great part, like in Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, No Country For Old Men or The Sunset Limited, he's capable of true greatness.

Matt Mustin said...

I actually think he's very good in Lincoln, too.

Calvin Law said...

He's definitely LVP of Batman Forever, but I liked him in JFK and Lincoln. My equivalent of Matt is probably Samuel L. Jackson, Matt Damon, Billy Bob Thornton or Frances McDormand. Actors with a very specific range and can coast and be entertaining, but thrive within them.

Calvin Law said...

What do we all think of Steve Buscemi on here? He's someone else who is watchable even just doing his standard schtick, but when he stretches himself like in the first few seasons of Boardwalk Empire, and Fargo, he's something special.

Matt Mustin said...

Buscemi's awesome.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I totally love him in Lincoln. Don't know why everyone here on the blog turned on him in 2012.

Michael McCarthy said...

I just saw Café Society. The territory, plotwise at least, was a lot more standard Woody Allen then his more recent output, but considering what he's been making in the last few years I'd say that's a good thing. The narration was unnecessary and Corey Stoll was criminally underutilized in a role he might have been excellent in if it had been expanded. But it was very nicely shot and pretty consistently entertaining throughout.

The whole cast does well, but Stewart in particular was terrific. Although I think my second favorite of the cast was Anna Camp in her single scene.

Michael McCarthy said...

Louis, what are your top ten films of 1931, 1965 and 2008?

Alex Marqués said...

Buscemi is great.

Alex Marqués said...

The End of the Tour got better on rewatch for me. What a great screenplay.

Calvin Law said...

Alex: it does grow on you, doesn't it? The screenplay is possibly my favourite of the past decade so far.

Anonymous said...

Buscemi is underrated as an actor. It's a shame that he was in The Ridiculous Six along with Keitel, who's also underrated.

GM said...

1. Woody Harrelson
2. Ralph Fiennes
3. Antonio Banderas
4. Michael Smiley
5. Jakub Gierszal

1. Matthias Schoenaerts
2. Peter Mullan
3. Daniel Henshall
4. Jake Gyllenhaal
5. Michael Fassbender

Alex Marqués said...

Calvin: Agreed, it's terrific. I appreciate Eisenberg's work more now, and Segel might be my pick for Best Actor.

Calvin Law said...

My 2015 top 5 is sitting really well with me now, with McKellen, Tremblay, Damon, Hardy and Segel all here to stay. Which is a shame because Fassbender and Jordan would get in almost any other year.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your Top 5s for Lead and Supporting Actress so far this year.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Apparently, Mickey Rourke and William Hurt were considered for Elliott Ness. It's quite a shame that Costner was cast since the former two would have been so much better.

94dfk1 said...

Buscemi should've been nominated for Fargo instead of Cuba Gooding Jr. in 96. And Macy should've been in the lead category instead of Harrelson.

Also, which director would do the most justice to a remake of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Spike Jonze would be my first choice.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I seem to be the only one who likes Gooding in Jerry Maguire. Now James Woods, he was a bad nominee.

Calvin Law said...

Not a fan of Gooding Jr.'s win but I'm not going to lie, I love his speech.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Cox - 4(It's been since 2008 since I saw the film, but Cox was very good as usual. It was interesting to see him actually lead a film, and I thought he managed to do so well. He really brought the needed to some of the moments in the escape, while being rather moving in terms of portraying the character's specific motivation for his escape.)

Cunningham - 3.5(Rock solid performance as per usual from him. Does not have too much of a role but adds a nice bit of character and gravitas to the proceedings nonetheless.)

Jorge - 3(Does a good job of making his character more than just part of the background of the escape.)

Fiennes - 2.5(Did not quite buy him as the badass tough. Not a bad performance otherwise though.)

Cooper - 3(Found him forgettable most of the time, but thought he made up for it in his moving portrayal of the character's reaction to his abuse.)

Lewis - 3.5(He probably would go up if I were to re-watch the film. I recall him being quite menacing in the role though while having a definite charisma about it. He carried himself well with a visceral edge while barely raising his voice.)

Deiner:

Anaya - 4.5(A very interesting performance, and I think perhaps a re-watch could move her up further for me. Her performance is captivating as she portrays such an extreme yet peculiar emotional turmoil that is rather fitting to the character's predicament. She's terrific in the way she shows the shifting personality as she continues to undergo her most bizarre form of torment. I particularly love her last scene as she brings so much honesty to scene that might have failed if her work did not feel so genuine.)

Cornet - 3.5(A fairly small role in the scheme of things but he's good in portraying the haplessness that gets him the situation than the crippling terror once he's in it)

Alamo - 1(A terrible performance that is pure camp that is jarring when compared to the rest of the performances. He's suppose to be funny it seems but he's not. He sticks out in the film in the worst possible way.)

Peredes - 3.5(She's effective in the way she brings a motherly warmth fitting to her character but within this carries a definite incisive menace whenever it is clear she will protect her son at any cost.)

Giuseppe:

Supporting.

Michael:

1931:

1.M
2.City Lights
3.Frankenstein
4.Public Enemy
5.Skippy
6.Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
7.Little Caesar
8.The Front Page
9.Monkey Business
10.The Criminal Code

1965:

1. The Hill
2. Doctor Zhivago
3. For a Few Dollars More
4. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
5. The Collector
6. A Patch of Blue
7. Red Beard
8. Von Ryan's Express
9. King Rat
10. Shenendoah

2008:

1. In Bruges
2. The Dark Knight
3. JCVD
4. Burn After Reading
5. Iron Man
6. Gran Torino
7. The Hurt Locker
8. Tropic Thunder
9. Hunger
10. Frost/Nixon

Luke:

I'd say wait until at least the lead results.

Anonymous:

Shame as both would have been far better in the role.

94dk1:

I think Jonze could work well, and I'd be interested to see how he would tackle that sort of material.