Cinema Club: Under the Skin (2014)

Posted on July 27, 2014

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Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. Wandering the harsh, icy, barren Scottish streets at night, just trying to get to the supermarket without being stabbed or attacked by incomprehensible jabbering men, a large white van pulls up and beckons us over. We’re terrified, which is the natural state of being in Scotland at night, but our inherent politeness takes us over to see what is required of us. It turns out that the driver of the van is an impossibly beautiful lady, doll-like features to the point of fear, inquiring directions to some designated point. We do what we can. Implausibly, the woman offers to give us a ride. Despite being brought up to not accept rides from strangers, the fact that we’re also brought up to fear the Scottish streets at night means we accept the ride.

The ride is a pleasant one. We’re  nervous, another side-effect of being in Scotland at night, but the woman seems genuinely interesting in making small-talk (what a hilarious contradiction) as well as being interested in our lives. In particular, our current marital status. The question confuses us, because no married man would wander the bleak Scottish streets at night, but we’re too frozen stiff to be completely honest. To our shock and awe, it becomes clear that this lady is attempting to seduce us, and lo and behold we end up at some secluded shack in the middle of nowhere. We’re apprehensive, but then all Scots live in secluded shacks in the middle of nowhere right?

She walks ahead, we follow. She slowly removes item of clothing after item of clothing, we do the same. The floor becomes a ‘find my way home’ trail of garments of clothing, and by now we’re too incapacitated by the beauty of what is in front of us to take logical stock of anything. We continue to follow, oblivious to the fact we are slowly walking into some oil-like liquid, before we are completely engulfed and left to waste away. Whilst this situation is less than pleasant now that we’re in pre-death limbo, this is to expected in Scotland. The woman merely walks back over our heads, seemingly walking on solid ground where we found only ocean death. She continues this trend of seducing men to their deaths, which despite not being overly pleasant is still preferable to spending a night alone in Dundee.

Then it turns out she’s an Alien and she gets burned by an English rapist.

‘Under the Skin’ is an incredibly slow film, full of beautiful photography and an intriguing story, but it also happens to go nowhere and nowhere slow. Aesthetically stunning, mentally turgid. Unless, of course, it is a deep story about British politics, with the poor impressionable Welsh being seduced to their deaths by the gorgeous Scots who in turn get destroyed by the violent English. If thats the case, then its still slow as shit.

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Posted in: Cinema