An alien seductress preys upon hitchhikers in Scotland.
Under The Skin, the third film from ‘Sexy Beast’ director Jonathan Glazer, is a fascinating film about an alien sent to earth. Set in Scotland, primarily across the Highlands and through Glasgow, the film is a strange mix of script and improvised encounters with strangers, some of which are very funny. Little is explained of the reasoning behind the alien’s work on earth, although it’s clearly shown that she has a handler, and that her role is to lure unsuspecting men to some sort of watery death, for reasons unknown. I quite liked this artistic choice, it added to the mystique of the film, and to the mystique of the creature. That creature is played by Scarlett Johansson, and she drives the film with an exceptional performance – she’s both otherworldly yet deeply familiar.
The initial encounters are intriguing at drawing us into the film, but the film starts to move into exceptional territory when the creature starts to rebel against her reason for existence, and starts to quietly and slowly become slightly human. It’s fascinating to watch and the deeply measured approach only adds to the intrigue. One of the other things that made the film standout was the terrific use of sound to build an atmosphere of dread, creating deep suspense and a sense of danger. This is a terrific film, an outstanding piece of science fiction and one of the most original films I’ve seen in a long time. This one will linger in the memory for a long time.
Directed By: Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson