ScarJo’s alien picks up men in bleak Scotland in mesmerizing Under The Skin.
UNDER THE SKIN directed by Jonathan Glazer, written by Walter Campbell from Michel Faber’s novel, with Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams and Paul Brannigan. A Mongrel Media release. 108 minutes. Opens Friday (May 9). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNNN
Jonathan Glazer's first film since 2004's absorbing psychological drama Birth will indeed get under your skin. It'll also provoke lots of discussion and, likely, disagreements. (It's already become one of the fest circuit's most polarizing films).
Scarlett Johansson plays a beautiful alien who drives a white van around the grey, drab roads of Scotland to pick up single men and mysteriously dispense with them. While this sounds like some sci-fi thriller - Species 4! - it's anything but. Loosely based on Michel Faber's novel, it deals with big themes like alienation, charity and - hell, why not? - the human condition. One remarkable sequence manages to look at Glasgow's citizens as if through the eyes of someone not quite human.
The harsh, rugged landscape helps immensely, as does Johansson's restrained performance and Mica Levi's hypnotic, disturbing score, which will bore its way into your subconscious.
This one will haunt you.