Robert Munro

author • photographer • raconteur

Robert Munro

author • photographer • raconteur

Under the Skin – 2nd attempt

Under the Skin – 2nd attempt

An attempt failed

When we last left the intrepid hero he has failed miserably in being able to watch Under the Skin, the Glasgow set film starring Scarlett Johansson. To cut a long story short I got about 45 minutes in then had to stop. The baby scene did me in.

Despite my general freak out I thought that the film had merit so I finally managed to settle down to watch the remainder, carefully skipping past the beach scenes. Glad I did.

Back on the donkey

The special effects, despite being on a low budget, are quite exceptional. The entry sequence is genuinely breathtaking but it is the scenes in the tank that are just stand out weird. Its abstractness just adds to the confusion but when realisation strikes at what is going on it is a very strange sensation. I genuinely did not know what to expect as it was significantly different than in the novel. Better as well.

As I mentioned before the Glasgow scenes are quite jaw dropping. Seeing a Hollywood A-lister in a setting that I recognise so intimately is a quite cathartic experience. Buchanan Galleries never even had time to roll out the red carpet.

Other than the excellent Ms Johansson, the biker and the disabled actor really stand out. A bit of investigation discovered that the guardian like biker is actually played by professional racer called Jeremy McWilliams. He certainly had his race face on when playing this part and the cold, brutal conspirator is just one of the many disturbing characters within the narrative. Including the neds.

The biker in Under the Skin
The biker meets the alien in Under the Skin

On the whole I would highly recommend a watch, though it’s horror sci-fi genre may be a little bit too disturbing for those of a nervous disposition like me.

No Country for Old Men Warning

I must make an official “No Country for Old Men” warning in regard to this film. Like the Coen classic it does have something of a meander just over an hour in. Once the narrative leaves for the highlands I felt the film lost an edge and went in a different direction.

Perhaps it is simply the case that like the Coen brothers masterpiece it trys to stay too close to the original intentions of the novel, even if it is not entirely suitable for the big screen. Either way I think the tension went out of the film.

The good news is that despite this dip the ending is sufficiently creepy to resurrect a decent level of satisfaction. Most of it seems to have been done with camera trickery rather than high tech and it really works well.

Deep down I think I was really expecting the plot to thicken and half hoped that the police might get involved. Perhaps the filmakers could have made a genuine call to the local constabulary and got a couple of unsuspecting officers to come arrest Ms Johansson? Then again seeing a couple of her majesties finest stripping down to their boxers might not have universal appeal.