fri 12/07/2024

DVD: Under the Skin | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Under the Skin

DVD: Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson kills Glaswegian males

She's got you under her skin: Scarlett Johansson

When is an adaptation no such thing? Novelist Michael Faber has been more or less faithfully televised by the BBC in The Crimson Petal and the White starring Romola Garai as an autodidactic Victorian prostitute, while at the other polarity stands Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, featuring an almost wordless Scarlett Johansson as a man-slaying alien loose on the streets of Glasgow.

From under the skin of the film the guts of the novel have been ripped out, leaving the viewer free to read what they will into a chilling parable about (when all's said and done) alienation.

The film has already been high-fived twice on theartsdesk, when it appeared at the London Film Festival and then on general release. What else do you get on the DVD, aside from repeat chances to mine Faber’s fable for meaning? The extras, in the circumstances, are a disappointment. There are several mini-interviews focussing on all aspects of the making of the film, from production design to casting, soundtrack to special effects, plus the uncommon technique of accumulating 230 hours of footage on eight cameras.

What there isn’t is a single mention by name of the source material beyond Glazer’s allusion to an unaffordable early draft with many more characters. There is also a gaping hole where an interview with Johansson should be. Perhaps it’s appropriate not to hear what she has to say about playing a blank canvas, but it would be interesting to hear about her experience of filming incognito in Glasgow and adlibbing the self-consciously banal lines of dialogue. But if it’s just a permanent record of the film you want, treat yourself. As a killing machine slowly discovering her own vulnerability Johansson remains just as glacial and luminous and fascinatingly blank on the small screen.

Overleaf: watch a clip from Under the Skin

There is also a gaping hole where an interview with Johansson should be


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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