Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer’s new alien nightmare starring Scarlett Johansson, looks like a dark alien psychological tour of the human psyche.
The film is loosely based on Michel Faber’s 2000 sci-fi novel Under The Skin. Johansson plays “Laura” an alien disguised as a human sent to Earth by a rich corporation to procure lonesome hitchhikers along the roads of Scotland.
In the novel, her role is to deliver her victims to her controllers who mutilate and fatten her victims so that they can be turned into meat. Apparently human flesh is a delicacy on her barren alien home-world and sex is her hunting equipment.
I know we are all sick of the “alien-eats-human” story, but something different is happening in this film. The director used hidden cameras to film Johansson as she picked up real men off the streets of Glasgow. This gives an even deeper perspective into how an alien might really feel while hiding out and hunting on Earth.
This film looks amazing. I love how the location and the music set a perfect dissonant tone for how an alien might feel in our world. I’m a huge fan of dark art and cult classic films.
Give me odd foreign films with vampires, intellectual prostitutes and robotic replicants that confess deep rooted fears of mortality. In many ways, the story being told in Under The Skin is a classic tale of the artist, the observer, the philosopher. The best philosophers and artists have always felt alien in the culture they find themselves.
I have often said that if you want to observe reality you must remove yourself from the safety and noise of ordinary culture.
Seeking out subculture in humanity will afford any philosopher or artist a more expanded view of humanity. As a techno-philosopher living in an age of social media “pretty party people” and digital innovation, I think it is critical to look into the dark corners and see what culture is trying to hide.
Awe and wonder come in many forms. Most great artists and philosophers find awe in the darkness as well as light, and it is the shadow self that forces us towards optimism. Although the technology has changed, we are still lonely primates trying to use small mouth noises and cave drawings to convey the inconceivable loneliness we feel as a singular consciousness floating on a rock in deep space.
UNDER THE SKIN will hit theaters on April 4th.
We are not alone in the universe. Anyone who says otherwise is in deep denial. If you look deep into the psychology of the people who say it is impossible, you find that this knowledge disturbs the fragile human ego. To know we may be at the bottom of an enormous intelligence ecosystem as well as the fear that we may be at the bottom of the universal food chain sends fractures running though the heart of humanity. However, one day, we will stand face to face with the ‘other’ … whomever they may be.