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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Skin Quick View Grade: B-

Source: IMDB

Skin tells a story about a White Supremacist member named Bryon (Jamie Bell), whom was raised by racist neo nazi vikings. Bryon meets a young mother of three Julie (Danielle Macdonald) at a rally. Bryon defends her and her children after members of this hateful group was very disrespectful during their performance. As far as Bryon becoming a better man: It's highly doubtful, but with the help from Julie and Bryon’s guilty conscience... Who knows, an opportunity to becoming a better person could happen. Skin was based off the 2019 Oscar winning Short Film Skin, the director/writer from that short also worked on this. I haven't seen the Short Film, but haven't heard much praise other than somehow them winning the award. However Skin the feature length film I found a fair amount of things to like about it. I felt the Cinematography was pretty good, I loved the shot in the third act of a car smoking, while the rest of the cars in the lot was covered in the snow. The Score was fine, I felt in some scenes the music was a bit over dramatic for a couple particular scenes, that didn't needed to be presented in that way. The cast of this film was good. I actually didn't recognize Jamie Bell playing this tattoo'd face White Supremacist member, yet again he had a pretty good performance. As far as the character Byron I felt a fairly written character, that had a completed arc, however I do have a simple issue with this character. Byron early on claimed he was sick to his stomach, after harming a young teenager as he wants to change his ways. I never once felt like he was traumatize after hurting that kid, he pretty much moved on with his life after hurting that person. What inspired Byron to change was his significant other, he really liked her because she was hard working, independent, and kind as she showed him his true colors. Him harming that young kid then later on feeling bad about it never really happened, unless being said by him, so I would've liked more development about how his earlier hate crime started to bother him over the course of time, than it just being told. Julie played by Danielle Macdonald played a pretty good performance as well. Surprising enough Vera Farmiga played a small part as Byron's adult figure and she had a good performance as well. Along with my earlier issues, I do have a couple more to talk about. In between scenes, we see Byron in a hospital removing his tattoo's, showing the day number and what body area he's getting the tattoo removal from. I honestly couldn't care less, like I know it was important to Byron... But for the audience sake we care about Byron becoming a better person, than him removing his tattoo's so I would've kept that out. I felt Byron and Daryle (Mike Colter) chemistry was under developed. Sure we have a couple scenes of Byron calling Daryle for help and meeting up with him for help, but when the credits roll as it claims they're both talking to this day... I couldn't believe that was possible, because why would they be still talking?! They met for a couple hours?! How did they become buddies afterwards?! Maybe if the film spent more time on developing the beginning of their friendship, then I wouldn't mind, but these two barely talked at all during the entire run time. I feel a little more development behind the struggle of Byron changing for the better could've been done as well. Though it's pretty clear Skin is nowhere near flawless, as it has quite a few blemishes... I felt Guy Nattiv did a fair job the way he directed this film and the story he wrote, as it has a purpose in not only being told, but also has a lovely message to deliver as well. The story behind Byron is troublesome for many viewers including myself. We see a racist White Supremacist, whom results to violence if their skin color doesn't match theirs or doesn't agree to their views. When we think about Change for the better, this is the last person on earth we ever see, turning to change for the better. But sometimes it only takes two things to change someone for the better: Someone to be there to guide them to a better path, showing they truly care about their well-being, and also certainly just showing act of kindness. We see early on Byron had promise of being a good person, he just needed someone to show him the right way to life and that's when Julie came along. Because of Julie, Byron finally started to open his eyes as he realizes he is not one of them and doesn't have to be. Of course Byron feels he has to cater to them because they took him in when he was young, likely was homeless with no food or shelter, so Byron feels he owes them for their generosity, which leads to Byron brainwashed into becoming a White Supremacist member. It's not an excuse for what Byron did, but you can understand in his position what inspired him to become this way. Now as Byron is older and can make choices for himself, he unexpectedly found Julie as she brought him to the light. All it takes is Love to change someone for the better, it doesn't happen in a quick second, it takes a great amount of time and effort, luckily for Julie when she wanted to quit on Byron... Byron could not let her go as he refused to continue the life he currently lives. The story itself was a fairly written story, though I had problems with it, I still found myself invested as well as it was a nice story being told. I'm surprised it wasn't predictable, some things that happened in the third act truly surprised me. The message was thoughtful and was well earned. All it takes it Love to out beat Hate, as well as Change is possible for everyone. Overall, Skin was a fairly decent film. I recommend this film, it's available on Amazon Prime for streaming if you're interested. -Mitch Smietana

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