Under the Skin

Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson surprises in her latest cinematic offering — supernatural thriller Under The Skin.

Johansson stars as an extra-terrestrial siren luring the unsuspecting men of Glasgow to a gory death, with a lot of scenes filmed with ‘real’ unsuspecting men kerb-crawled on the streets. It’s director Jonathan Glazer’s third film after Sexy Beast and Birth, and his signature atmospheric style is apparent.

A film that could at best be summed up as indie sci-fi, Under The Skin is the first film adaptation of Michael Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name but carries similarities to other sci-fi films that have gone before it, most notably Nicolas Roeg’s trippy film The Man Who Fell To Earth, starring David Bowie and his 60s masterpiece Performance with Mick Jagger (whose look in the film bears a striking resemblance to Johansson’s black wig/ red lip combo).

Johansson’s extra-terrestrial transforms before our very eyes from cold, hard clone to vulnerable outsider as she encounters the kind acts of a stranger. The film has certainly divided opinion. It’s definitely not for those who like their narrative neatly tied up into a bow — you never quite get the answers you’re searching for — and some scenes make it particularly difficult viewing. But a hair-raising score from Mica Levi combined with Glazer's abstract footage mean it's hard not to be lured in.

  • Words: Catriona Taylor