Under the Skin (2013)

Directed by Jonathan Glazer, who directed the great film Sexy Beast (2000), Under the Skin is a loose adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name. It follows an extraterrestrial who has assumed the form of a young woman (Scarlett Johansson) and her odd process of picking up men, bringing them back to her place, and their odd and undetermined fates.

There is very little dialogue in the film, and the camerawork and tone is very clinical and Kubrickian.

The film is something of an exploration of human sexuality, and all the forms it can take, before becoming (through an arc in Johansson’s character) an existential meditation on empathy. There is a moving sequence involving a lonely man with facial neurofibromatosis (i.e., elephant man’s disease), played by non-actor Adam Pearson, a man who actually has the condition.

Full of strange and poetic imagery, almost surreal, the film will have you thinking about it’s “meaning” for some time.

Highly recommended.

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