Under The Skin
Jackie’s deeply emotional outbursts may stand in stark contrast to the alien’s lack of empathy, but both women share a troubling alienation from the people around them. Mica Levi’s scores make this alienation audible, the grim discomfort of her music allowing the audience to feel, even for 90 minutes, the terror of such a solitude.
It’s only until Laura begins to question herself and her place in the world when she observes the women around her in the next scene. She’s in her van and as she listens to the report of the missing couple and child she witnessed drowning, a scene of just women, conversing, talking, and walking begins. For a bit, it’s like the montage of her looking for her male victims, with the foreboding background music to match. Later on this same sort of montage occurs, but instead of the scary soundtrack, we hear the hustle and bustle of the street as our eyes scan the women on the screen.
Becoming Not She, But Her: Motivation, Cinematography, and the Alien-in-Girl’s Clothing in Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’
If you hear that people hate this movie, this re-inscription of feminine expendability and excoriation is probably, I’m guessing, why. Or there’s not enough explicitly in the surface of the movie: everything’s implied, ergo too many loose ends. They probably hate what happens to the baby: I think that’s when women walk out of the movie. The fact that men regularly walk out of screenings (because of the erect penises on the victimized men–that is a whole other essay for a whole different internet venue and I want to read that essay a.s.a.p.)
Most of these films demonstrate a lack of curiosity about how these women came to be the characters we see: no one in real life becomes as deceptive, manipulative, and callous toward others as these characters are without a backstory, which usually never makes it into these films. So we’re probably overdue for a femme fatale who literally drops, fully formed from the sky: Scarlett Johansson’s main, unnamed character in Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under The Skin,’ an alien in the guise of a beautiful woman. Johansson, wearing a short black wig, drives around Scotland in a nondescript, white van asking men walking alone along the road for directions and then, if she ascertains, through a few questions, that they won’t be missed, she offers them a ride.