Under the Skin (2014)

  • Director – Jonathon Glazer
  • Starring – Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor MacKay.
  • Writer – Walter Campbell, Jonathon Glazer (both screenplay), Michael Faber (novel)
  • Year – 2014
  • Running Time – 108 minutes


 Sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way and that is certainly true with Under the Skin. Normally I like to go into a film knowing nothing at all, preferring to experience the story unfolding in front of me in blissful ignorance. However this approach can occasionally lead to disaster, especially with films with non-traditional narrative structures. A case in point is Upstream Colour, which I stumbled out of a confused and mumbling mess. I think I would have exited the screen in a much more dignified manner if I had gone in armed with a basic plot structure on which to cling on to, but saying that, with Upstream Colour, I am not sure that even exists.

Whilst not as impenetrable as Upstream Colour, Under the Skin offers no fanfare, back-story or even defined characters (the actors are simply listed in the credits and not assigned to any specific role). At the start of the film, much like Scarlett Johansson, we find ourselves on the streets of Scotland, with a clear mission, but with unclear objectives. You quickly realise Johansson is an alien like seductress, cruising the streets at the wheel of white van, seeking out young single men to entice back to a terraced house, where they meet a murky end. However for what purpose though is open to interpretation. (more…)