“Under the Skin” (Dir. Jonathon Glazer) (2014)
You can refer to Lesley’s review of the book here.
The film is far less preachy than Michel Faber’s novel – it’s a kind of Rocky Horror Picture Show with thick Glaswegian accents. Scarlett Johansson is an alien (in the garb of a woman) gathering men for her intergalactic handlers. But the tedious lusts of men are mitigated by a diversity that challenges and confuses this rather startled visitant, turning her harvesting methods idiosyncratic and a bit ineffectual. Is the farmer getting too empathetic with the stock? “Your mission is a failure!”
Literal but also surreal, the film takes a one-trick pony and turns a 10 minute concept into an 108 minute one, through repetition, leisurely pacing and a strong, persuasive performance by the star as the simpering, befuddled outsider who is far more dangerous than she looks.
Beautifully shot with tasteful effects that work because they are not over-worked, the film diverges materially from the novel on which it is based – and surpasses it. “And crawling, upon the planet’s face….some insects – called ‘The Human Race’…Lost in time, and lost in space…and in meaning.”