Jamie Bell is convincingly compelling as Neo-Nazi, Byron Widner; he is a totem, poster boy for every racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, mendacious nitwit poisoning the disenfranchised, marginalized, those terrified of anyone who is not colorless, of pure Aryan stock; ironically, their corps is tattooed, unshaven, filthy icons of hate. Widner is a real life paradigm of miraculous upheaval; his catalyst arrives with the appearance of Julie (Danielle Macdonald) and her three daughters; refusing to be swallowed by his alternate culture she ignites Byron’s painful transformation. Bell is spectacular in his portrayal of a lost boy, sunk in a cult of detestation, led by Fred and Shareen Krager (Bill Camp and Vera Farmiga peerlessly, mask evil with obsequious, unctuous charm); Byron’s ultimate impetus for change is motivated by Daryle Lamont Jenkins (Mike Colter), specializing in turning hateful advocates into government informers; Widner’s conversion is imbedded in two excruciating years of tattoo removal; penance, warranting a “clean” slate.
Israeli writer/director Guy Nativ’s “Skin” resonates with shadows of 1998’s “American History X”; but today’s racists proudly run for office, inhabit the mainstream; their familiarity unfortunately breeds, not only contempt, but approbation; a terrifying scenario, not to be ignored, but addressed and hopefully, eventually, rectified, eradicated.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!