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Beauty Is Not Only Skin Deep: a review for Under the Skin

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Under the Skin


An alien race assume human form in order to lure lamps to the slaughter

Taking ten years to transfer any story from print to screen will lead to hype and expectations that are elevated so high, it should be impossible to live up to. That possibility notwithstanding, Director Johnathan Glazer and freshman Screenwriter Walter Campbell not only failed to disappoint, they excelled in adapting the novel Under the Skin into a feature film. Approaching it more as a conceptual, tranquil horror piece – opposed to the book’s agenda of questioning the morals of factor farming – Glazer and Campbell produced a much more engrossing and tense piece than novelist Michel Faber had. Under the Skin is nightmarish and beautiful, subdued and absorbing – however, the slow pace unfortunately does make the movie seem longer that it actually is.

Relying strongly on actors who were not actors, Glazer’s gambit to insert hidden cameras into a van, and have a disguised actress drive around picking up unsuspecting people/victims gave the film an unnerving realism to what some people might get themselves into for a pretty face. Scarlett Johansson proves she can still throw herself into a smaller film as well as she can for a mainstream release.

Under the Skin is currently playing at Landmark Cinema Centre in Chicago.