Under the Skin

Film Review by Jamie Dunn | 27 Feb 2014
Film title: Under the Skin
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Paul Brannigan, Jessica Mance
Release date: 14 Mar
Certificate: 15

Under the Skin, the long awaited cinematic return of Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth), opens with a hallucinatory dance of light and sound, which in turn morphs into a human eye. Things only get stranger from there. We follow an alien disguised in luminous human skin (Scarlett Johansson’s), who roams the streets of Glasgow in search of men. Like a siren, her sex appeal drags these horny young neds to a watery doom.

Glazer chooses No Mean City’s most humble boroughs as the alien's hunting ground. Shot through the ET's point-of-view, it couldn't look more otherworldly: its puce-faced residents, loud and lairy, forever on their mobiles (many of them being filmed surreptitiously), make for an apocalyptic vision of humanity. What begins as an eerie psychosexual horror movie slowly shifts to a haunting study of loneliness and female subjugation. What is her mission on Earth? That’s never clear, but it’s largely irrelevant: like the alien’s reaction to our strange little planet, our confusion is more than matched by our awe. [Jamie Dunn]

Release 14 Mar by StudioCanal