Under the Skin (2013): “Where are you from?”

under-the-skin-poster-800x1185Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013) is one of those films that I love re-watching. It’s an unforgettable and unashamedly strange film that will stick in your mind for a very long time. To describe the film’s synopsis using a previous post of mine: It tells the story of a beautiful female alien (Scarlett Johansson) who arrives in Scotland with a job to do. She is charged with the task of seducing lonely men and taking them to her home, but for what purpose? Over the course of the film, one of her conquests leads her towards a process of self-discovery that neither she nor the audience would ever have predicted.

I had the chance to re-watch Under the Skin very recently and I was blown away by how much I love it. Not only was I still impressed by Scarlett Johansson’s performance, I continue to be surprised by the fact that she starred in this film in the first place. It seems like such a strange choice, yet she fits the role perfectly. The score by Mica Levi in particular always strikes me as a genius move; alien noises that suit the film’s contents to a tee.

However, it’s the visuals that get me every time with this film. For a film that spent a hellish ten years in production, they appear to have made the best of those ten years by ensuring that the best talent possible was involved with the film’s creative aspects. Jonathan Glazer, whose filmography consists mostly of music videos, enlisted the talent of cinematographer Daniel Landin to ensure that the film looks as gorgeous as it does. The majority of Landin’s filmography is also music videos for bands such as Radiohead, Garbage, David Bowie and BjΓΆrk; all innovative artists with defined visual identities.

Under the Skin captures not only some stellar acting by Johansson and an amateur supporting cast, but also some visually beautiful and visually repulsive moments; and sometimes a mixture between the two. I am always so impressed by the fact that the film not only shoots its intergalactic drama in such an intense and engaging manner, but also that Glazer and Landin managed to capture some sprawling and evocative shots of nature as well, with one particular shot of sea spray curling up in the wind being my highlight. This film has the perfect combination of a well-shot story, and beautifully-shot context for the story.

Here is a selection of my favourite shots from Under the Skin, mixed up to avoid spoilers (hopefully). However, I implore you to watch this film as soon as possible if you haven’t yet, as the film is so gorgeous in motion.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 8.53.41 pm


























Watch the trailer here.


  1. Such a fan of his adverts.

    1. I’m not sure I’ve seen any of his adverts. I might need to do a bit of sneaky Youtubing.

      1. If you only see one, make sure you see his Guinness advert. You’ll know which one I mean as soon as you see it πŸ™‚

  2. Jordan Richardson · · Reply

    Love, love, love this film. So fantastic.

    1. Every time I watch it I think I appreciate it even more.

  3. It’s eerie and perfectly set in Scotland. Love the dark place where the males are sucked dry. Awesome.

    1. I love the setting of Scotland as well. It really does provide the perfect atmosphere for suck a murky story.

  4. Someone recommended this movie to me the other day, and so your review is perfectly timed for me! It sounds really interesting, and it looks beautiful, too. Going to be watching this one very soon πŸ™‚
    – Allie

    1. I hope you love it as much as I do! πŸ™‚

  5. This is another one that has passed me by, but now I have the inkling to see it so.. Thanks!

    1. You should definitely give it a try!

  6. Strange for sure. I don’t think I could watch it again!

    1. It’s definitely not for everyone!

  7. It was an unsettling film, the scene with the family on the beach was the most disturbing for me.

    1. Yeah, that’s the part that sticks out as very disturbing to me as well. The image of the abandoned baby on the beach is really upsetting.

  8. It’s such a beautiful film. Some of the shots are like paintings. The place she takes the men to is incredibly memorable.

    1. It really is such a beautifully shot film. I’m always amazed at the shots of the fog and how artfully each shot is composed.

  9. This is one of those films were I fall out of favour with the popular consensus. I didn’t hate it and I appreciated the visuals and presentation but I didn’t love it or consider it a masterpiece either. But I am glad I’ve seen it. πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah, it’s definitely not a film that will please everyone 100%! I really love it but a couple of people I saw it with thought it was so tedious.

  10. Great post, Anna! πŸ™‚ This is a great film. And I LOVE Glazer’s music videos. Okay, you really do need to watch The Man Who Fell To Earth….

    1. I really need to see it! I wish I’d put it on my Blindspot list for this year.

      1. Blindspot 2017! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€

  11. I absolutely loved this movie! So beautiful on every level. ScarJo is amazing. Etc. Great post!

    1. Thanks heaps! Yeah, I just love that ScarJo chose this film to work on. Such a surprising casting choice, which makes it perfect.

  12. The visuals are stunning! I’ve read that it’s an intriguing film, with a twist, but had no idea how beautiful it looks.

    1. And it’s even more beautiful in motion!

  13. I’m a big fan of this one, too. Such a haunting film and ScarJo is masterful. Great review.

    1. Thanks heaps Wendell! I do love haunting films like this one.

  14. I have had this on my watch list for ages. I need to bump it up.

    1. Definitely deserves a bump or two! I love it.

  15. Great post Anna. This is one of my all-time favourite movies and I must have watched it at least 10 times on blu-ray. Great choices for stills, my favourite is the one where her face is surrounded by/consumed by a strange orange background

    1. I can’t imagine how amazing and crisp the visuals would look on Bluray! I love the orange toned shot as well. It comes at just the right time in the story and it could be interpreted in so many ways.

  16. Just watched this one, Anna! It’s an immediate entry for the very best films of this decade. I want to watch it again. Haunting, disturbing, beautiful, and just a breathtaking examination of humanity. I loved it.

    1. I’m so glad you loved it! Definitely a contender for my best of the decade as well. I really want to read the book it’s based on to see how it stacks up to this adaptation.

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