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“Skin” True and Tragic




Review by John Delia, Sr.

Shocking and disturbing, the movie Skin puts you into the thick of the White Supremacist revolution during the early 2000’s. But, this biography does have a happy ending and that’s not easy when it comes to one of the most uncontrollable underground hate groups in America. The filmmakers do a very good job of bringing the film to the screen with a lot of explosive action, extreme and gut wrenching at times.

The movie follows Byron Widner (Jamie Bell) a skinhead that entrenched himself into one of the more intense families called the Vikings Social Club. Close to the top of the ladder, the chief Fred ‘Hammer’ Krager (Bill Camp) and the community mom Shareen (Vera Farmiga) took him in and trained him in at an early age.

Jamie Bell.as Byron Widner in SKIN Courtesy of A24

A devout believer in the movement to eradicate certain members of society, Byron enjoyed the marches on large cities like the 2009 rally in Columbus, Ohio. There he came in contact with Daryle Jenkins (Mike Colter), a black man trying to turn skin heads. It’s a tough job for Jenkins especially since Byron was one of the men who viciously beat a black man during the melee that ensued.

So beings a movie based on true events that puts Byron on a road that will send him out of control. Director and writer Guy Nattiv does a very good job laying out Widner’s time with the Viking Social Club. He gets a lot of energy from Jamie Bell showing the viciousness of the White Supremacists movement and their determination to cause chaos. Surrounding him with hatred mongers like Fred Krager, out of control soldiers Slayer (Daniel Herishall) and Jerry (Michael Villar) the film delivers some very sickening visuals of the group’s hatred.

Mike Colter..as Daryle Jenkins in SKIN Courtesy of A24

In the lead, Jamie Bell does a terrific job showing the violent nature of the white supremacists and their loathing that has been taught him while a member of the group. As Bryan, his family turns his world into a dead-end life of killing and destruction. But, because of the club he belongs to, he’s determined to use the Viking lore of brutality to keep his position in the family. This performance reminded me somewhat of his recent role of Jarhead Earl in Donnybrook where he played the part of a fist fighter.

At the annual meeting Byron meets single mother Julie Price (Danielle Macdonald) and her three daughters Desiree (Zoe Colletti), Sierra (Kylie Rogers) and Iggy (Colbi Gannett) that gives Byron’s life some stability. It’s a happening that starts to change Byron and helps him to consider leaving the brutal life he has been leading. The four actresses are brilliant equally developing important characters to the story.

Danielle Macdonald as Julie Price in SKIN Courtesy of A24

Skin has been rated R by the MPAA for disturbing violent content, pervasive language, graphic sexuality, and brief drug use. However, the movie does also contains teenage smoking and used of marijuana.

FINAL ANLYSIS: A very good film for those who have the stomach for some very visceral scenes. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, Mike Colter, and Vera Farmiga
Directed and written by:  Guy Nattiv
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
MPAA Rating:  R for disturbing violent content, pervasive language, some sexuality, and brief drug use, also contains underage smoking
Running Time: 1 hr. 59 min.
Opening Date: July 26, 2019
Distributed by: A24
Released in: Standard, Color

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