Under the Skin

Under the Skin ★★★★★

B-B-Buh- B-B-Buh, B-B-Beh, B-B-Beh, Bah, N-N-Nuh- N-N-Nuh, N-N-Nuh- No. N-N-Nuh, F- Feel- Field, Fill- Filled- Filts, Foil- Failed- Fell, Felds- Pill- Pills, Pall- Nall.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this revisitation of Glazer's utterly hypnotic masterpiece, Under the Skin, was its use of the nine quadrant space of the screen. As the film mechanically unfurls itself, we see an almost purely consistent pendulum like motion as characters are framed first in the left third, then the middle third, and finally the right third of the screen. This pattern whips to and fro, to and fro repeatedly.

Yet, when Scarlett (for simplicity's sake I'll just call her that) seduces a new victim, Glazer locks the characters in the middle third. This damning inevitability is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of a profoundly unsettling picture. And this repeats over and over. The only time this tradition is broken in the first half of the film is when Scarlett penetrates the world outside her cocoon of a van. Then, the chaotic randomness of humanity douses the screen in multi-directional movement. Scarlett dashes back and forth, up and down, betraying the calculated and methodical movement prior.

In the second half of the film, however, as Scarlett becomes more and more "human", her screen presence bounces all around like a toddler toppling over in eager curiosity. She even explores an axis yet untouched - the vertical. And, in the chilling climax, the role reversal is evident. As the attempted rapist pursues her, it is now she who is hunted. And that methodical and inevitable pendulum like movement rears itself once more.

With only this second viewing, Under the Skin has drastically risen in my estimation. This is no less than an utter masterpiece and, in my opinion, one of the absolute greatest films of this decade. Under the Skin remains a 5/5.

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