When cinephiles discuss films of the aughts that were mysteriously unloved or misunderstood, a title that often comes up is Jonathan Glazer’s Birth, a taboo tale crudely summarized as one of resurrection and cradle-robbing love. It was a bold work that required time for its formal merits to be processed and appreciated; however, few of its champions probably thought that they’d have to wait so long for a follow-up from the director. It’s been 10 whole years since Birth first bewitched us, and only now is the next entry in Glazer’s oeuvre within reach. Starring Scarlett Johansson in a performance that’s netting her international raves, Glazer’s Under the Skin looks to be an elliptical sci-fi flick of Kubrickian proportions, taking an intoxicatingly artful approach to the Species formula of a sexy, predatorial female alien (Johansson) roaming the earth. Yesterday, the film’s official cosmic one-sheet debuted. Today, A24 released its first U.S. trailer.
Reporting from last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where A24 picked up Glazer’s latest, our own Tina Hassannia called Under the Skin a film that “undeniably deconstructs female sexuality in relation to masculine power, and the baffling nature of that relationship, which is unraveled via the perspective of an alien.” Hassannia also stated that “Glazer’s confidence in carving out [his film’s] bizarre diegesis helps [it] to ultimately suggest that [its] inconsistencies are irrelevant—that what’s more important is communicating the beautiful otherworldliness of this mysterious creature with the vacant eyes and flagrant disregard for human suffering.”
Finally, with a poster that instantly lands itself on the shortlist of 2014’s best, and a trailer loaded with compositions evoking everything from Tron to 2001: A Space Odyssey, we non-TIFF-goers receive a taste of what Hassannia and company have already devoured (and, in all likelihood, are still chewing over). Though naturally concerned with matters of the flesh, Under the Skin also seems preoccupied with notions of suspension, from Johnasson’s character’s outer-space origins and the netherworld into which she lures her lovers, to whatever metaphorical contexts Glazer doubtlessly has tucked up his sleeve. Until Under the Skin opens in limited release on April 14, we’re left with its enticing promo material, which, with all its saturated colors and juxtapositions of the biological and the mechanical, is surely still just scratching the surface in regard to the movie’s curiosities.
Below is the latest one-sheet for Under the Skin, featuring Johansson’s extraterrestrial femme fatale:
And below is the film’s first official U.S. trailer: