Under the Skin (2013)

Certificate: 15 Runtime: 1h48m

Click on image to buy the DVD!

Click on image to buy the DVD!

Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer’s blend of sci-fi and horror, has been described as both ‘erotic’ and ‘disturbing’. It is an adaption of Michel Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name. undertheskinvan
Scarlett Jhohannson is an extraterrestrial cruising Glasgow in a white van to pick up men. She always asks questions like ‘are you alone?’ and ‘Do you live alone?’. Clue: the smart answer is ‘No’.
In between picking up men she ( credited as “Laura”, a name never mentioned in the film!) drives around Glasgow where the ordinary folk are observed and weighed up. These scenes of Glasgow have a fascination of their own as ordinary people going about their daily lives are closely observed.
Although there is flesh on show I didn’t find it erotic although I did find it disturbing. There is a beach drowning scene where her alien, disconnected and unsympathetic nature is underscored. It is harrowing.
Johansson’s alien is gradually drawn into the world of humanity and loses control. This is triggered by meeting a man with neurofibromatosis. She seems depressed and becomes withdrawn and vulnerable. In this state she sees both the best and worst of human nature.
Under the Skin is an unusual, visually beautiful film but expect to leave with more questions than answers.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

There is a second Counter Culture review of Under the Skin by Alistair Martin here.


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