Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα observation. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα observation. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Παρασκευή, 22 Αυγούστου 2014

Under the Skin (2013)

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Writers: Walter Campbell, Jonathan Glazer, based on the novel by Michel Faber
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay 
Production: UK | USA | Switzerland
Duration: 108 mins

The thing I must begin with about this film is how much I admire the sophisticated way it is being made. From the story which doesn't reveal much - only through images - to the minimalistic score that accompanies the film and from the mesmerizing personality (and performance of Johanson) to the questions it lives unanswered, this  elegy on human behavior is beautifully unique. 

Johanson plays an alien on Earth, observing every move of human race in the cold and distant urban and natural Scottish landscape. The goal of this extraterrestrial, manifesting in human form, is to seduce and lure men to this substitute of a nest where there is nothing else but her and the pray. A room with a glassy surface where the horror that lies underneath gets revealed in slow breathtaking doses. 

From the first shots where she is trying to find her voice - tribute to "2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)" of Stanley Kubrick - and is being created into something more human alike, we are introduced into this cold and distant world. Which is our world through their eyes. The way the aliens see the humans and the way Johanson, the hunter, lures them to the nest, provoke frustrated emotions. Firstly because of how she observes everything, how we walk, how we behave, how we act. Secondly because of the cruelty these aliens share. The insensitivity with which they treat humans, the cold and surgical way they act. It is quite horrifying.   

Johanson is not alone. The bikers are her assistants, the ones who will clean up any mess that might be created via the hunting. The obvious structure in their small society gives the feeling that they work mostly based on their nature. Johanson hunts using her attractive human body and the bikers help her stay on track and clean up any further casualties. No distractions, no remorse, no compassion. 

They work based on their plans and based on their basic needs; to hunt, to feed, to retain their human mask, their human skin. Through Johanson's eyes we observe too. We are looking at how she, the alien, sees our world. How scary it looks, how remote. And she has to bring the food to the nest. She has the hardest task. Through these long observations she absorbs information in how to be polite and flirtatious, how to mingle in this world. She shows amazing strength and patience in order to be even more successful in her hunting. 

But at some point she starts losing her goal. She begins observing herself more than her pray. She is fascinated by what she sees, her body, her perfect skin. The interest she grows for humans is now a little bit personal. She tries to act like them, to be like them, she has a curiosity that goes beyond her mission. She will discover the goodness in these humans, the thing that separates them from other beings, but also the bad side. This self-discovery will prove very important for the course of her life. 

What is being shown here is something more an experience than a film. You need to let yourself forget any kind of expectations and just dive into this peculiar, enigmatic world. There is very little dialog, very few explanations. The colors that are being used to show some feelings are unique. The cold blue and black of the night and the sea to show the distant nature of those aliens, the gray palette accompanied by yellow rays of fear when being among humans in this strange society of theirs and the warm colors when she begins getting to know this species through her own self. 

The director doesn't care for giving answers. He just keeps raising more questions that provoke so many disturbing feelings, a way of storytelling that actually helps you get closer to your own human nature. Your basic emotion palette from curiosity and reassurance travels to something like terror and horror, which leads to some surprise and compassion, only to end in disgust, some relief and an eternal wonder of what you have just experienced. 

'Under the Skin' is the film that will trouble you, maybe even tire you with some very long sequences, but you just need to let go and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by what unfolds in front of you. Let this eerie feeling take you over and maybe you will find the answers you were looking for. Become an observer yourself and you might be able to see "under the skin"