Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #75 – Under The Skin (2013)


RELEASED: 14th March 2014

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Glazer

CAST: Scarlett Johansson

BUDGET: $13.3m

BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $5.3m

AWARDS: None (1 BAFTA nomination)

A mysterious young woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. However, events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

 

Under The Skin focuses on an alien entity, disguised in human form, roaming the roads of Scotland hunting for her prey, lonely single men, in which she plans to seduce and lure them to a dilapidated house, but for what purpose?

 

Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin is one of those films I’ve appreciated the more times I’ve seen it since its release here in 2014. The overall plot is pretty straightforward, an alien on the hunt for single men to lure them back to their lair in order to seal their demise. It’s with Glazer’s direction however that the film is deliberately alienating in its narrative, as he focuses mainly through the scope of visual storytelling, from the opening scene in which Scarlett Johansson’s entity tries to find her voice, to how apathetic she is in removing the clothing from a woman to don for herself/itself. From there we witness how cold and clinical she is in seducing lonely men with no attachments back to this abandoned house, which is just as strange and alien to us as is our world is to her/it. The first half of the film focuses on the observation of human behaviour and interaction through this alien entity, who whenever they see their reflection in mirrors, the stare lasts just that bit longer, to the point that the second half focuses on what it means to be human and have empathy. Scarlett Johansson is terrific in the lead role, relying on her body and eye movements to project her performance here as the alien entity, and Glazer’s direction is terrific, especially in the sequences where we discover what happens in the house and also that scene in which a child is abandoned at a beach as tragedy strikes is just haunting. What makes this film excel to another level however is Mica Levi’s simplistic score, it just adds a level of tension and dread that makes you feel uncomfortable every time you hear it.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: As another victim is submerged in the house, we see what really goes on underneath and it’s a simple yet horrifyingly effective scene.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Why are you in Scotland?

I just… wanted to get away from it all.

Yeah? Why here?

Because it’s… It’s nowhere. ” – Female And Camper

DID YOU KNOW: Adam Pearson, who plays the disfigured man who is lured into the vehicle, broke his leg when he was struck by a cab on his way to audition for his role. Director Jonathan Glazer auditioned him the next day at the hospital and gave him the job.

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