15 January 2009 | Rim23shot
When communication fails
'Skin', set in a grim Dutch working class area in 1979, tells the story of Frankie, who starts out as a normal, somewhat rebellious teenager, and ends up as a neo-Nazi in jail. His Jewish father, a concentration camp survivor, is unable to communicate with his wife and son, which frustrates Frankie and has already created a clearly uneasy father-son relationship at the beginning of the film. When Frankie's mother gets seriously ill and needs to be hospitalized, all frustrations come creeping out from under Frankie's skin and a rough process in which he alienates from his father and most of his friends is set in motion. Even though Frankie does not intend for it to happen, he gradually finds some solace with a group of skinhead neo-Nazis, and escalation ensues.
There are some parallels between this film and the classic 'American History X', but whereas that film shows us how a remorseful neo-Nazi seeks redemption, this one explores how exactly a young person who would seem an unlikely candidate for adopting such views ends up doing so for all the wrong reasons (if there even are any right ones to begin with). Moreover, 'Skin' is a strong, gripping story about what may happen when communication fails, set against a background of growing intolerance and violence.