Under The Skin (2013)

Under The Skin is the story about an alien struggeling to find her place in the midst of Scotland

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Jonathan Glazers 2013 sci-fi movie Under The Skin is a story about a woman who drives around in Scotland in a white van picking up men and killing them. 

So. Scarlett Johansson plays this mysterious alien and is the only major start worth mentioning. The movie depicts an alien from birth til death, And does a pretty memorable acting job in this movie. Johansson is one of Hollywood’s biggest actors and in this part she manages to capture the complete cynical alien without any kind of feelings that is there to do a job and kill people.

When she kills her victims she lures them with desire into a house where they are submerged into a black liquid. We never get a proper explanation to what this liquid is, but it is visually astonishing to look at. After a while in human skin this alien starts to feel like a human and after that suffers a major personality crisis. Under The Skin manages to deal with several important themes of  race, immigration and sexuality. This mysterious alien we don’t get that much information about is a predator that is gathering men to murder and send their meat to her planet.

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But the point of this is to focus on the technical aspects. Cause this movie is a little piece of art in the technical terms. First of all most of the movie is shot by using hidden cameras so instead of stand ins there are actual people and actual conversations. Of course the people was informed about that they would be featured in a film afterwards but it manages to capture a realism that is really interesting and that using stand ins could not be able to achieve.

The sound being used in this movie is upright creepy and is the first sign that things are not as they necessarily seem. There are so many sounds in this film that sounds(pun not intended) weird that it is difficult to describe. It is a movie that is pleasing for both the eye and the ears.

In terms of film theory there are some montage settings here Sergei Eisenstein would love. Eisenstein always says that the cinematography and editing was the important part of the film, and in this movie there are a lot of fancy editing. The camera also most of the time focuses on the aliens face, that can tell a lot about the mood and setting of this alien.

The soundtrack is made by Mica Levi and fits into the realistic world of this place. We are in a completely normal day in Glasgow and a lot of the shooting and life looks like it is taken straight out of a documentary, and here we have this dangerous cynical alien that is hunting down lonely alone men to use for food. It is pretty creepy.
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Under The Skin was a box office failure that did not make its budget, but from a film students point of view it is quite the good film. It is almost shockingly beautiful to look at, and there are so much sound features to focus on. It is definitely not a film for everyone. It has some dark and cynical themes and may seem a bit heavy to some people. But if you like films that can only be described as weird. Under The Skin is the perfect film to watch out. Jonathan Glazer manages to make you believe in extraterrestrial life in one hour and forty-five minutes.

Score: 8/10

Trailer

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