Under the Skin (Under the Skin: Tane no hoshoku)
Director Jonathan Glazer
Language English
Opens Oct. 4

Jonathan Glazer makes ambitious, scary movies, but he’s not prolific — his last outing was “Birth” (2004), a film starring Nicole Kidman that gave new meaning to the word “creepy.” Now he has made “Under the Skin,” an elegant but queasy piece of cinematic poetry which recalls “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Stanley Kubrick explored the relationship between man and machine, proffering insights on what it is to be human in a digital world. Inspired by a novel by Michel Faber, Glazer looks at the human condition through the body, or more specifically, our skin.

Scarlett Johansson is a female alien who drives around Glasgow at night, picking up men and killing them in an insulated pool of black ink. In one segment she picks up a man with a heavily deformed face and tells him to touch her — the only time such an invitation is extended. Everyone else only gets to look at her black underwear before realizing they’re going to die. The scratchy, artsy soundtrack pursues the story with grating persistence and there’s almost no dialogue.

Skin: It’s a fragile, glamorous shell but Glazer offers no revelation about the humanity underneath.

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