Movies You May have Missed: Under the Skin

The British- American sci-fi horror film Under The Skin was released for viewing at the Telluride Film Festival in Telluride, Colorado. It was later released in theatres in the first quarter of 2014. Directed by the celebrated English filmmaker, Jonathan Glazer, this film is a definite must-watch! Glazer is famous for his work with some of the most interesting music videos and advertisements.

Under The Skin is a movie about an alien who lands on earth and takes disguise as an attractive woman seducing and preying on unwary men in Scotland. Script writers Jonathan Glazer and Walter Campbell have created the script and made a film adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel of the same name.
Starring Scarlett Johansson, the film has received critical acclaim for its script and Johansson’s performance. Glazer spent more than 10 years trying to create the film and has eventually created this masterpiece with a budget of a little over $13 million. The movie was well-received by the audience and critics; however, it failed to recover the budget that was spent in the making of the film. The original sound track for the film is given by Mica Levi, who is better known by her stage name Micachu.

While the movie has an erotic ambience to it, the feeling of fear, anxiety and a deep sense of disturbance cannot be excluded. Johansson’s outstanding performance is worth praising and no one could have done more justice to the role than this talented actress has. The men casted in the film are non-actors. Some scenes from the film were created using random, unscripted conversations that were recorded on the streets, with the use of hidden cameras.
Johansson’s stupendous presence easily attracts attention and this would be typical even if she were to turn up as an alien in its natural form. So it’s easy to say that Glazer made the perfect choice when he casted Johansson as the protagonist in the film.

The film begins with a scene wherein an alien is born. The alien is brought to earth and is consistently assisted, throughout the movie, by a motorcyclist. This man on a motorcycle even assists her in getting the human form when she lands on earth. Once in her human form, the woman drives around Glasgow in a Ford Transit van and picks up random men as her prey. Johansson doesn’t have a name and can simply be addressed as “the woman.”

Not much is shown of the scene where she preys on the men other than the fact that the men are led into a dark apartment followed by scenes showing Johansson and her prey taking off their clothes before she starts backing up leading the men to walk towards her while they slowly descend into a pool of black liquid. Johansson seems undisturbed by the liquid as she calmly walks on its surface with an expressionless look. The woman’s indifference to her hosts’ external appearance is obvious when she even picks up a man with a disfigured face. The role of this character is played by Adam Person, who suffers from neurofibromatosis.
Towards the end of the film, the woman walks through a forest and comes across a commercial logger, who later tries to molest and rape her in the forest. In the act he tears off the skin on her back, revealing a pitch black human shaped figure. The logger runs away, only to return with fuel that he uses to set the woman/alien on fire. The alien is burnt alive and the movie ends with smoke rising towards the skies.

Quite a modest amount of the film is detailed while some parts seem to have been left unexplained by Glazer, in a hope that the audience will imagine its meaning or analyze it. Not many directors do this and Glazer must be credited for such direction as he gives his audience something to think about even after the film is over.