Review: ‘Under The Skin’ 6.6.14

This was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Easily one of the year’s biggest indie hits. One that matches the innovation of say Kubrick’s ‘2001’ or Gasper Noe’s ‘Enter the Void’ (2 reference points that I thought of throughout). Here is a director, Jonathan Glazer, who with this, has done a total of 3 feature films in only 13 years, the others being his incredible 2000 debut ‘Sexy Beast’ and 2004’s ‘Birth’. Both of which I also screened prior to watching this film. He also is responsible for some of the 1990’s most influential and original music videos, particularly Radiohead’s “Kharma Police” and Jamiroqui’s “Virtual Insanity”. So, if you’re familiar with either of his other 2 films or music videos, you know that this guy is a total aesthetic artist. This film had me hooked from its first shot, where we see an extraterrestrial being (played by Scarlett Johansson, in what might be her best performance to date) being transported down to earth. But this is far from your typical Science Fiction film. In fact, it’s far from anything I’ve ever seen. I’ll spare any plot details other than that it’s completely hypnotic, unnerving, tense, and suspenseful, and it follows ScarJo as she travels through Scotland (with the Scottish highlands filmed in beautiful, lush cinematography) as she “meets” unsuspecting hitchhikers and preys upon them. Glazer is an auteur with a unique, groundbreaking, and completely innovative style and vision. Along with a chilling and beautifully haunting score by Mica Levi which fits almost like a glove in that I can’t think of an original score off hand that more closely aligns with the images you’re being shown on screen. This literally left my friend and I’s jaws gaping as the house lights went on. As well as a spirited discussion over a pint following. This is already in contention for the year’s best, along with ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Boyhood’. And is the “exact” reason why I go to the cinema. To “think”, to “feel”, and to be totally swept away by something completely unique and original. This is an absolute must see with my highest stamp of approval.

Grade: A-/A

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