Under the Skin

Under the Skin ★★★★½

"Shared suffering, she’d found, was no guarantee of intimacy."

Under the Skin is an incredibly misunderstood film. After I watched this for the first time, I had to take a few hours to gather my thoughts before attempting this. It's not often when a movie leaves me feeling this conflicted and I love it more every time I watch it.

The story structurally is a very slight one and not a conventional narrative, this is not always a problem in film and it cannot be denied that in terms of creating a mood and atmosphere that this is a triumph, sometimes it did feel too thin and while the basic concept is clear cohesion is not always a strength. Anybody feeling that there are unanswered questions here will find that the book, which has much more depth and clarity, provides the answers.

The film is a triumph of mood and atmosphere. There is a real sense of queasy horror, eerie chills and an otherworldliness. Standout scenes here are the jaw-dropping cosmic sequence, reminding one of "2001: A Space Odyssey", the nightmarish and tension-filled beach scene and the poetic, sensual, but pretty creepy seduction. Jonathan Glazer does a fine job directing, particularly in immersing the viewer into this world. The script is minimal, but hardly weak.

Laura (Scarlett Johansson) is mesmerizing here in one of her best performances, she's rarely been more sensual and she shows a mastery of conveying so much while saying little, very hard to do and under-appreciated by many. The Deformed Man (Adam Pearson) also gives a disturbing, but poignant performance. Other than them, the rest of the acting is competent, but not standout-worthy or memorable while never being disastrous or bad.

The film does look amazing with some startlingly original imagery that really haunts the mind. The cinematography and eerie lighting, as well as the beautiful, but austere Scottish landscapes, help make it one of the visually best-looking films that year. A big star is Mica Levi's electronic score that relies on drums and strings, this is one nerve-shredding music score with the freakiest use of strings for any film seen in recent memory.

Overall, Under the Skin is a unique artistic film experience, which will polarize audiences and director Jonathan Glazer has created a an amazing film, which will visually mesmerize, thematically baffle his viewers and it's a thoughtful look at the human condition.

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