Director: Jonathan Glazer
I’m terribly disturbed by this film. I haven’t read the synopsis before watching, so really did not know what to expect. I don’t think anyone will fuckin’ know what to expect in this case. Under the Skin wins the oddest film award for me (it beats Frank to the punch), and I doubt it if I’ll watch anything odder in the near future. I’m trying really hard to figure out how to share what the film’s about, but I’m a little confused on how to begin. Yes, I’m that disturbed right now!
DO NOT READ THE FILM’S FULL PLOT BEFORE WATCHING. THE SURPRISE EFFECT IS ONLY HEALTHY FOR YA!
All you need to know is this: a mysterious and seductive young woman, Scarlett Johansson, lures men into her van on the dark and shady Scotland nights. What seems innocent at first, soon turns out to be a weird development of incidents.
Jonathan Glazer chose Glasgow streets and scenic beauty for this film, and I can’t think of any other location more suitable. There’s hardly any text, but there’s a small textual portion of a heavy Scottish accent, which I wasn’t able to understand at all, I loved hearing it, though. I only understood the woman as hers is an understandable British accent, and thinking back, I’m convinced that’s what Glazer aimed for. It’s like an empowerment of the woman as opposed to the men. Throughout the film there is an ongoing emphasis on the subject of male and female and sexuality which eventually leads to realization and self discovery, however Jonathan Glazer is taking us through that pass with such obscurity and confusion. I thought I might lose my patience at some point, but I was way too curious to see where this is going.
Nudity is not unfamiliar in this film. The woman’s beauty is revealed in many scenes, but she seems estranged to it, almost analyzing it and questioning it at times. Her face, which the camera focuses on most. Eye shadowed eyes with a stone cold look and a red lipstick. No expression. Throughout the film she remains somewhat indifferent and automatic with her actions as if on some sort of a mission, it’s only when she flirts with the men she seduces than you see a spark of emotion. A woman on a prey. The thing with Scarlett Johanssen is it’s either I really like her, or I REALLY don’t. For all it’s worth, I think this film did her good. Scarlett can fit into many characters, but this one in particular shifts her acting abilities into another direction completely. I was surprised, in a very good way. First of all, she looked amazing. Her outfit, short dark hairdo and make-up reminded me of a character from a claude chabrol film. Second, her acting was amazing. she managed to bring out her character’s controversial behavior in a remarkable way. Classic.
The film has a certain purity to it. As mentioned before, The film is almost clean of text and background music, kind of nude.We can hear music when something substantial happens, and that’s when you realize the plot’s moving forward. It’s like watching a film in slow motion. My tension was building accordingly. I’m amazed I have any nails left. When it ended, I couldn’t stop staring at the screen, and that’s how I knew this film got to me and messed up with my mind.