Sunday, 6 April 2014

Under The Skin (2014)

Under The Skin, trailer

Genre: Sci-fi of sorts
Starring: Scarlett Johansson
Director: Jonathan Glazer
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
My Rating: 8.5/10
Runtime: 108 mins

Synopsis: An alien temptress seduces men into her nest, making their skin slip off as easily as their clothes.

Under the Skin is one of those films which will have people divided. It answers questions with more questions and doesn’t leave you feeling gratified. It does however offer you a sensory experience like no other. 

Reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, the film opens with unusual imagery of another dimension accompanied by a remarkably unsettling score. We move from outer space to what could be the inside of a human eye and find ourselves in a blank canvass with two naked Scarlett Johansson’s... From there the story follows Scarlett as she drives around Glasgow picking men up in her van and luring them into her hive. The alien’s lair is a dark void and Scarlett is like a praying mantis, holding her victims in a trance as she removes her clothes and leads them into a mysterious goo. The master-plan isn’t clear and we’re left counting up the possibilities. Answers are seldom gratifying in the sci-fi genre and Under the Skin isn’t afraid to wander. One could tear the film apart and say that nothing happens and that the film doesn’t mean anything but that would be cynical. Why not allow yourself into its charm and formulate your own theories on where or what it could be?

The cinematography in the film is diverse. Peculiar patterns layer into shapes as the lens draws closer and closer. We often stray into the otherworld before arriving back at Scarlett’s side. Mixed with this beautiful artistry is a documentary aesthetic showing the gritty side of Glasgow. Shots of the main street, Celtic supporters and hen parties give the city a sprawling effect, like insects multiplying. The supporting cast are all unknown local actors that could be easily passed by on the street. There’s nothing sugar-coated about them and even Scarlett’s attire is inelegant and transparent.    

I have to congratulate the production team for not straying into a Hollywood aesthetic and making Scarlett look better than ever. Under the Skin is an unusual film that will linger in my thoughts for a long long time.

I'm on anti-depressants and suffer from severe anxiety, should I watch this film on a Sunday night?! - Ehhhh I’m gonna say... yes.

- by Gavin Fitzgerald

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