Visited Bafta to see Under the Skin and hear Jonathon Glaser talk about his disturbing and powerful new film. It is a remarkable achievement. Dark, menacing, bizarre and beautiful – it creates a profound impression. I came to the movie cold… I really hadn’t read a thing about it and didn’t realise it was science fiction but rather a very arty turner-prize type movie.
People with no prior idea about the story may well get confused ( as I did ) about what is actually going on. But the cutting between the gritty Glasgow verite style shooting and the clean, cold, stylised and formal shots of the subjects interior world really do make the film seem like its made from two completley different films spliced together.
The overall final effect is extremely powerful. A total absence of human empathy explored to a shocking degree – most especially in the painful to view beach scene. In Nic Roeg’s “The Man Who Fell To Earth” Bowie’s character Newton slowly falls prey to human vices and addictions causing him to fail in his quest to rescue his own family from their dying planet. In “Under the Skin”, Scarlett Johansson’s alien character gradually discovers higher human values, such as empathy, growing within her and starts relating to her victims. It is the unfurling of human emotion that eventually leads to her own downfall. A strange, disturbing and very original film