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John Lui
Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

Showbiz

Film pick: Under the skin (R21)

The Straits Times | John Lui | Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

Film: Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson

Arty horror meets vague conceptual sci-fi in this work by the director of Sexy Beast (2000), the funny tale of London gangsters in their holiday homes.

British director Jonathan Glazer took a decade to complete Under The Skin, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Michel Faber that was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award. A nameless alien assumes the form of an attractive woman (Scarlett Johansson, below).

She drives around Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands in a van, inviting men into the vehicle. Fellow aliens riding motorcycles watch over her as she goes about her mission.

What gives Skin its heft is its stylishness. Glazer, noted for his music video and advertising work, knows how to make an arresting image. The sci-fi set design (to say too much would spoil the fun) is a stunning piece of minimalist futurism where space and time dissolve.

When the alien pod receives its "deliveries", the moment is as solemnly ritualistic as a Japanese tea ceremony and just as mesmerising.

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