Sunday, May 11, 2014

Under the Skin

Movie Name: Under the Skin
Year of Release: 2014
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden, Andrew Gorman
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Acclaimed commercials director Jonathan Glazer is back, 10 years after the release of his previous feature, the underrated "Birth". "Under the Skin" is another particular view into the sci-fi genre, as has become prevailing in this director's previous features - a distinct and unique view into genres which have their own established languages, which Glazer then proceeds to expand.
The film follows a beautiful young woman, named Laura, who while driving around Scotland, seduces different men to come back to her house for what they assume is a sexual encounter. Unbeknown to them however, Laura is an alien, and the house is in fact this vessel where bodies are stored and examined. Upon connecting with a disfigured man, Laura catches a glimpse of the meaning of humanity, and wanders off trying to understand that new light in her existence.
"Under the Skin" is definitely a film that defies convention. Jonathan Glazer builds a narrative where the visual language is stunning, but also abstract enough to render the viewer's interpretation as wide as possible. The film benefits from a fantastic central performance from Scarlett Johansson - between her blank canvas stare, and her "awakening", the character morphs in front of the audience, giving her a dimension and ultimately flushing the sense of humanity that the director wants to explore. The film also benefits from the shooting locations, which are desolate and remote, invoking a sense of isolation, no matter where the character finds herself. This is truly a director's vision, one where the visual language is simply phenomenal and unique, and where the narrative slowly expands to showcase the theme at it's core. A great film, worth watching!