• Name: Cold Skin
• Year: 2017
• Country: Spain, France
• Director: Xavier Gens
• Main cast: Ray Stevenson, David Oakes, Aura Garrido
• Runtime: 108 minutes
• Production company: Babieka, Kanzaman, Ink Connection
• TRAILER (international trailer not available yet)
Cold Skin (or in its original Catalan language “La Pell Freda”), was the success debut novel from writer and anthropologist Albert Sánchez Piñol. It was first published in 2002 and since then has been translated into 37 languages and sold thousands of copies. Fifteen years later, the feature film adaptation is seeing the light. The movie is directed by french filmmaker Xavier Gens, known for his debut film Frontier(s) (2007) and another adaptation, this time from a videogame, Hitman (2007).
And what do we find in this adaptation? Well, over all, it is fair to say it is quite faithful to the original text, and at the same time manages to imprint the cinematographic language necessary to create a film product that doesn’t driftes or bores. In that term, director Xavier Gens notably accomplishes his porpuse. Because Cold Skin is an intense movie, a fantasy thriller with a good dose of action that keeps the watcher glued to the chair for over an hour and half. The fear of the unknown is well carried by the actors and the direction.
One of the keys to achieve this feeling of solitude and dread are the landscape, perfectly chosen and deliciously filmed. Those locations, mainly in the Spanish territory of the Canary Islands, are almost an extra character in the story. Because almost the entire action of the film occurs in one specific spot, a solitary island where the main character is sent to carry on with his meteorological researches.
Besides the great but short intervention of veteran John Benfield as the captain who takes the young scientist to the island, the movie is carried by two actors that share an interesting love/hate chemestry, young David Oakes as the weatherman and old and grumpy Ray Stevenson in yet another of his intense performances, this time as the lighthouse keeper Gruner. With them two it is also mandatory to stand out the great work of actress Aura Garrido as the innocent and strange pet creature that serves as the trigger of the plot. A good acting job, together with a good direction and production design that makes this film a must see for all fantasy flick enthusiasts.
It is inevitable, but Cold Skin will be compared with another international production in the genres of fantasy and thriller based on a catalan author seen in this year’s Sitges Film Festival as it is Jaume Balagueró’s Muse (2017) [read our review here]. But as Balagueró’s title doesn’t do the transition from novel to movie efficiently at all, Xavier Gens’s work is able to outstand by itself. In all the aspects. That is my opinion, and it was shared with everybody else I talked to at the festival. And now that the movie is hitting some regular theatres, I think it is fair to recommend it to the big audience. Cold Skin is a good movie and probably won’t disappoint the viewers. Unless you already read the novel, because then the plot twists won’t be a surprise anymore and the version on the screen is a little bit milder than the paper one. But still, it’s a good movie.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034385
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