At A Glance
Groomed from childhood into a white supremacist movement Bryon Widner accepts the help from black activist Daryle Jenkins to change his life. Widner will endure 2 years of excruciating surgery to remove the tattoos hallmarking his shameful racist passed. Based on true events.
Directed by Guy Nattiv
Written by Guy Nattiv
Released by Lionsgate UK
2019, 118 minutes
UK cinemas on a platformed release from 27th September
Digital release on 30th September and DVD release on 7th October.
Jamie Bell as Bryon Widner
Danielle Macdonald as Julie Price
Mike Colteras Daryle Jenkins
Bill Camp as Fred 'Hammer' Krager
Vera Farmiga as Shareen
Louisa Krause as April
Daniel Henshall as Slayer
Skin DVD review
What kind of person is a neo-Nazi? What kind of person is filled with so much hate? What kind of person inflicts unspeakable violence? What kind of person risks his life by rejecting the white supremacist movement? These themes and more are explored through Jamie Bell’s transformative performance in Skin, a story inspired by true events.
Bryan ‘Babs’ Widner (Jamie Bell) is a high ranking member of the Vinlanders Social Club, one of the U.S.’ fastest growing racist skinhead organisations, he has the tattoos to prove it. The ‘Vikings’ are vicious and they are brutal.
He is deeply rooted in the ‘family’, but Bryan wants the chance of another life with a real family. Repulsed by what he is and tormented by the acts he’s committed, he wants out. But easier said, than done.
With a ‘Snitches get Stiches’ tattoo, it is a life taking risk he is prepared to make in order to assert a new life for himself. So with the help of activist Daryle Lamont Jenkins (Mike Colter), Widner strikes a deal to provide information for the opportunity to have the tattoos removed which link him to the shameful fascist regime.
With Vera Farmiga as the manipulating ‘Ma’ and Vinlanders President Bill Camp as ‘Pa’, they chilling convey that there is only one way out of the family, and they are prepared to use any method at their disposal to gain control and retain order.
In honesty I was reticent about reviewing the film, I was afraid of the dark tone of the story and the kind of violence that we could witness. However, I am glad I have seen Skin, because it’s a story of redemption, forgiveness and bravery.
Bryan Widner picked off the streets as a child, will endure two years of unsurmountable pain to remove the emblems of a life he was groomed into. And although the film is told linearly, these moments in the operating theatre are interspersed through the narrative serving as a reminder that Widner is a person worth investment.
Jamie Bell convincingly reflects the contrasting aspects Widner’s life, the inner conflict and turmoil of a man trapped, trying to grasp at self-worth and forge a different future for him and his family.
Skin is beautifully shot and really has high production value, which does help make the darkness of this film all the more palatable, but without glorifying it.
Each excruciating imprint of ink removed, serves as a valuable metaphor in that the die is not cast and that transformative change can be made, we can metamorphise to lead a meaningful and inspired life.