Cert: 15 Runtime: 108 mins Director: Jonathan Glazer Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Krystof Hádek, Scott Dymond and Adam Pearson
Do You Live Alone?
One of the most highly anticipated films of the year has finally arrived, Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin. Last year during the Venice Film Festival I originally heard about the film, it divided the critics that day and we are still in this scenario. Some people compare it for it’s Kubrickness and some find it pointless! The film is based on Michel Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name. The book is one of the most intellectual sci-fi tales I have ever read, and I must say I did find it difficult to imagine what the film would look like. The use of non actors attracted me even more, as they use a rigged van to get reactions from many a curious Scottish males. But the cream on top of my interest was the inclusion of Scarlett Johansson. For me one of the best working actresses in the world today! What is the film about then? An unnamed alien (Scarlett Johansson) in human form is stalking Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands. Beautiful and alluring in classic femme fatale style, with blood-red lipstick and an unruly mop of jet-black hair, she cruises around in a van targeting men who are unlikely to be missed. Barely able to believe their good fortune, her victims are lured into the van where they meet a truly gruesome end!
Firstly this film is nothing like the book, we need to live with this! We get something far richer from Jonathan Glazer, it’s a phenomenon! This is a film made for those of us who live for cinema beyond the multiplex, cinema at the outer edges of the norm, and cinema which shows there’s still hope yet for originality.Personally I do not understand the negativity towards the film. He has created a master class in film making and has re-established my faith in cinema as an art form. Jonathan and his team have let their imaginations run wild by creating, a beautiful, elegant, haunting and seductive film. The film requires you to watch in a different way than you normally watch films. It requires you to experience strange and beautiful images without feeling guilty that there is no complex plot or detailed characterization. The opening sequence alone was worth the money as it was so imaginative, it truly something to be held by. You hold your own interpretation as it’s very abstract for each shot and this is what I adore about Under The Skin. The use of colour holds symbolism through out mainly black and white, it is a constant feature through out the film. The imagery of objects we see as beautiful come out as an image of darker sentiment, you are constantly thinking throughout the whole piece. What I believe Glazer really does ask is what makes us human? beyond skin, body and blood? We are witnessing the evolution of a character with no emotion, experiencing life with all it’s highs and lows in a flash. That for me makes this film genius. Picasso has Guernica, Dali has Persistence Of Memory and now Glazer has Under The Skin.
Scarlett Johansson is nothing but iconic in this film! Her diversity has no bounds and she challenges her self to any occasion. Recently watching Spike Jonze’s Her, Johansson was a driving force on voice alone. She chooses her roles very well and can jump from a independent movie straight to a blockbuster. Her nameless alien character is fascinating, she is so emotionless at the beginning and her journey to the end is nothing but a roller-coaster. The English accent wasn’t brilliant but I assume it was part of the grand scale of things. Her look with the fake fur, acid wash jeans, jet black hair and blood red lipstick will stay in the mind for a while. Every shot she is in is just poetry in motion, I would love to see a Academy nomination next year for her. But only time will tell! If your only going in to this film to see her naked, I hope you leave with a better perspective of life. This film would be nothing without it’s score, Mica Levi’s score is so hypnotic.It’s like the trance of a siren. The music lingers in my head still today and I am sure it will for some time. I truly hope in twenty years this will be considered a masterpeice and stand the test of time. Under The Skin is a absolutely unique movie experience. Those who miss out on it do so at the detriment of their own intellectual and imaginative capacities.