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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Second Skin (Unrated Edition)
Second Skin (Unrated Edition)
New Yorker Video // Unrated // April 15, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted August 9, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: Movies centering on marital infidelity are fairly common these days. From the TV Movie Of The Week to the direct-to-video releases that are becoming commonplace these days, there are a lot of movies that address the issues of trust, betrayal, and the aftermath such relationships bring about. In a recent release, Second Skin (Unrated Version), explores the same old ground but adds in the aspect of the husband cheating on his wife with a guy, rather than the usual female. Does that single change alter the equation enough to give the film an audience outside of gay consumers? Well, it really depends on the filmmaker and the cast of performers involved, not to mention the screenplay.

Second Skin started off routinely enough by establishing the lead male, Alberto (Jordi Molla), having the perfect life. He has a swell wife, Elena (Cecilia Roth), a great job, a kid, and everything is great. At least it looks that way from the outside. One day, Elena finds something that leads her to think Alberto has been cheating on her and she's determined to figure out who the woman that he's with is, which leads to her eventually finding out the other party is a man (Javier Bardem). Shocked, since Alberto had never displayed any tendencies that would lead her to think he liked men more than her (that they had a steamy liaison seemed to prove her theory), she is overwhelmed at the problems this makes.

I liked the acting of the leads here. Each seemed very well suited for their role and only a couple of times did they make me think a judicious bit of editing or another retake might be in order. I think there were some limitations of the direction of the film and the screenplay could've used some polish but only the ending made me feel the time spent watching this was wasted. To be fair, the character of Alberto was shallow, wishy-washy, and hedonistic-making him very unlikable to me but overall, the others were pretty well written.

The movie did display some moderately graphic scenes of "manly love" that were short of pornographic in nature but would be offensive to those who dislike such content. The themes explored were universal in some ways which gives the IDEA of the movie some ground to be appreciated but the execution of the ideas were just not there for me. As such, I think this one should be rated as a Rent It. It's not a bad movie but its flaws prevented me from liking it enough to rate it higher.

Picture: The picture was presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio widescreen color. There was a fair amount of grain and some compression artifacts but the biggest problem was with the blurry focus in too many scenes. I noticed edge enhancement (a friend showed me on his high end TV) that distracted from the quality of the picture but it wasn't bad for a smaller budget foreign film.

Sound: The sound was presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital Spanish with optional English subtitles. The vocals sounded clear and the score was appropriate to the emotionally draining theme here but neither were exceptional.

Extras: Trailers, a photogallery and a paper insert with a chapter listing was all it had.

Final Thoughts: If you're gay or even bisexual, you'll probably like this one more than me but the bottomline is that the themes are common enough that had you changed the one cheated with to a woman, even that subsection of the population wouldn't appreciate it. It'd be offensive to suggest that gays, by nature of their sexuality, would rate a movie higher solely because it dealt with a gay character or theme, just as it would be offensive to an open-minded person to rate it lower solely because a character was of a different sexuality.

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