Jamie Bell stars in the true life story of Bryon Widner, a young man raised by skinheads, for whom turning his back on hatred and violence meant undergoing painful and expensive operations to remove the tattoos that signified his terrible past life — a process only possible with the support of a Black activist.
Bryon Widner was born into hate. The son of a neo-Nazi leader, he was raised with white-supremacist beliefs, and from age 14 had those beliefs inked on his face and body for the world to see. But a day would come when what Bryon felt on the inside no longer matched the tattoos on the outside.
The true story of Widner's excrutiating transformation inspired this startling chronicle of redemption from Israeli writer- director Guy Nattiv. Starring Jamie Bell (also at the Festival in Donnybrook), Danielle Macdonald and Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga, Skin boldly immerses us in a cultural contingent that, however extreme, demands to be reckoned with.
The film begins with a violent altercation between the Vinlanders Social Club, a skinhead group, and anti-fascist protestors. Vindlander and tattoo shop proprietor Bryon (Bell) is arrested and offered a deal - to which he responds by displaying a tattoo emblazoned on his thighs that reads "snitches get stitches."
Despite his unrepentantly racist parents (Farmiga and The Night Of's Bill Camp), Bryon begins questioning his convictions when he falls for Julie (Macdonald), a single mother to three little girls who has distanced herself from fascist groups. Bryon's love for Julie will prompt him to change his life. But leaving behind all he knows is going to be hell.
Nattiv foreshadows Bryon's coming changes with flash forwards to his intense tattoo removal treatments. These cinematic jolts punctuate Bryon's gripping journey, one well worth heeding.
Winter Garden Theatre
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