Under the Skin
The auteur influences on Jonathan Glazer's mesmerizing and meditative nightmare Under the Skin are legion, including Nicolas Roeg, Abbas Kiarostami, Stanley Kubrick and early Ridley Scott, but the result is a genuine original that defies categorization. In an inversion of the “male gaze,” Scarlett Johansson stars as an emotionless alien trolling for male victims on the highways of Scotland. She brings loners and hitchhikers into her nest, using her physical allure to subdue her prey into a hypnotic submission, and Glazer does the same thing to the audience with his camera. Even the natural world behaves unnaturally in Glazer's lens, and he shoots the Scottish countryside as though it were an alien landscape. Nearly wordless and devoid of comforting context, and driven by composer Mica Levi's haunting and discordant score, Under the Skin will drill deep and lay eggs in your brain.