The nine-year wait for a new film from Jonathan Glazer appears to have been worth it. Under the Skin, his first film since the enigmatic 2004 drama Birth, has premiered at the Venice Film Festival to a chorus of rave tweets and five-star reviews.
Adapted from Michel Faber’s cult novel, it stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien in human form preying on hitchhikers in the highlands of Scotland. Under the Skin is produced by James Wilson and Nick Wechsler, and backed by the BFI Film Fund.
“We’re so glad that the secret is finally out!” comments Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund. “Glazer deserves every superlative going for Under the Skin. He has crafted a masterpiece that gets richer and more rewarding the more times you watch it.”
What the critics are saying
Under the Skin is far and away the best picture in the competition so far: a story that plays as a kind of malarial dream, bathed in cold sweat and seeing hallucinations in every corner. – Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Johansson is nothing short of iconic here; her character is a classic femme fatale in the film noir tradition, down to the plump red lips and deep fur coat, but with a refrigerated nothingness at her core. […] Glazer’s astonishing film takes you to a place where the everyday becomes suddenly strange, and fear and seduction become one and the same. – Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph
Jonathan Glazer’s quixotic, constantly baffling and often remarkable Under the Skin resists explanation and easy reading at every oblique turn, a strange social realist science fiction yarn which somehow generates a sense of forward momentum and Lynchian unease from merely observing the unusual actions of its heroine. – David Jenkins, Little White Lies
Under The Skin: Oh. My. Lord. Seductive/repulsive visionary horror poem, best and boldest film in competition. Johansson iconic. #Venezia70
— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) September 3, 2013
Thank god for filmmakers like Jonathan Glazer - Under the Skin is a mysterious marvel. V funny at points. Although mostly creepy as hell.
— Dave Calhoun (@davecalhoun) September 3, 2013
— Jamie Dunn (@JamieDunnEsq) September 3, 2013
UNDER THE SKIN: Trance-inducing, beguiling, beautiful, the most fully-achieved film in competition. Johansson is extraordinary. #Venezia70
— olilyttelton (@olilyttelton) September 3, 2013
I think it’s years since I’ve seen a film as good as Under the Skin directed by Jonathan glazer. A masterpiece.
— mark cousins (@markcousinsfilm) August 31, 2013