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Much Ink Spilled

Skin-movie-review-jamie-bell
A24

MOVIE REVIEW
Skin (2019)

Guy Nattiv made a live-action short film called “Skin” that went on to win an Academy Award despite its reprehensible take on white supremacy and racial injustice. Then after pouting with his wife-producer Jamie Ray Newman at the press call backstage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Mr. Nattiv went on to make a feature, also titled “Skin,” which deals with the same subject matter. Fortunately, that is where most of the similarities end.

The feature-length “Skin” stars Jamie Bell as Bryon Widner, a real-life white supremacist who abandoned his hate group after falling for a divorced woman with young children in need of some stability. While the racist in the short film got covered in tattoos, Mr. Widner wanted all of his tattoos erased so he could wipe his slate clean.

The feature breaks no new ground, given that Mr. Widner was previously the subject of the MSNBC docu series “Erasing Hate.” Mr. Bell disappears into the role, masterfully drawing viewers into a film replete with made-for-TV heavy-handedness. But that in itself is leaps-and-bounds preferable to the reductive “Skin” short, in which the fictional extremist got his comeuppance when kidnapped by a group of black vigilantes who tattooed him from head to toe to resemble a black man.

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