“Do you think I’m pretty?” A few weeks ago, a short teaser trailer for Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin was released. While the trailer was brief, it was also disturbing, eerie, and extremely unsettling. If you thought that teaser was freaky, check out the new theatrical trailer. You’ll never look at Scarlett Johansson the same way again.
Under the Skin is the first film from director Jonathan Glazer since Birth starring Nicole Kidman in 2004. It doesn’t look like Glazer has missed a step, and Under the Skin looks like its half sci-fi horror movie and half art film.
Based on the novel of the same name, Under the Skin follows an Isserley (Scarlett Johansson), an alien being who is sent to Earth to pick up careless hitchhikers in Northern Scotland. Once she seduces the weary travelers, Isserley drugs, fattens, and mutilates her victims to turn them into meat for an evil corporation back on her home planet. Apparently, human flesh is a delicacy for her alien race.
A few weeks ago, Under the Skin had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. The sci-fi film received mostly positive reviews from critics, and it currently holds an 88% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Jordan Hoffman from ScreenCrush called the film a “pure cinema trance that Jonathan Glazer’s film puts you under,” and compares it to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, while William Goss from Film.com says Under the Skin is “a deliberately oblique work that prizes textures above answers.”
There are a few dissenting opinions, however, including Todd McCarthy from THR, who said the sci-fi film was “a purely visual experience without dramatic, emotional or psychological substance will comprise an ardent cheering section, but the film provides too little for even relatively adventurous specialized audiences to latch on to, spelling a very limited commercial life.”
Jonathan Glazer was one of the best music video directors in the ’90s before he made the leap to feature films with his directorial debut Sexy Beast, starring Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone, and Ian McShane in the year 2000. Glazer directed music videos for British rock bands Radiohead, Blur, and Jamiroquai throughout the ’90s. Since his last film in 2004, Glazer has directed many commercials for Sony, Motorola, and Stella Artois.
Dutch-born author Michel Faber wrote Under the Skin in the year 2000. It’s a dark social satire that skewers big business and corporate farming. It also reaches into themes of sexual identity, humanity, and mercy. The novel was on the prestigious Whitbread Awards shortlist for Best First Novel in the year 2000.
There is no release date for Under the Skin yet, but Focus Features acquired the film’s distribution rights, so it’s only a matter of time before they announce when audiences can see the strange movie for themselves. Hopefully, we’ll get to watch Under the Skin sometime in 2014.