An alien, in the form of a mysterious, attractive young woman, (Scarlett Johanson) roams through Scotland in search of vulnerable, isolated men. She entices them away where they are met with an ominous, perplexing fate: their bodies are absorbed into a thick black liquid where eventually they are sucked away into a strange red light leaving only their skin behind. However, the alien begins to become increasingly self-aware of the humanity of her disguise and seeks to understand it.
The flaws of Under the Skin are primarily stylistic ones. An intriguing, utterly bewildering introduction gives way to a slightly repetitive sequence when our female alien goes hunting - she's driving and driving, luring and luring, they're sinking and sinking. But the story finally takes hold of its audience when variations come to play - unexpected events provoking a response from Johansson's character. We encounter an eerie, troubling scene on an isolated beach, sympathy is felt by our alien creature and something of a rebellion ensues.
The cinematography crafted by Daniel Landin may be considered a special treasure within the film. Landin works hard to fashion the easy and believable horizon we call society, from the eyes of a foreign being. The driving shots are effective, the seaside frames of wind blowing water off water stun and final views of rising smoke, ethereal yet wholly unnerving. First-time film composer Mica Levi's effort is magnificent - that tune, that melody, that sharp cord that really creeps deep Under the Skin, and tells more of the story than it really should.
The disquieting splendour of the feature is centred on Scarlett Johansson. The emotional range of the character experiences continuous growth throughout the film - the cold creature evolves before our eyes: we see pity, bewilderment, fear, horror, insecurity and the odd spot of happiness. Each sentiment is effortlessly facilitated by Johansson whose transition between each is more than flawless - it is a marvel to watch.
The fluid, ambiguous and sinister spectacle Under the Skin establishes director Jonathon Grazer as a shrewd, enterprising type of filmmaker - constantly searching for ways to mesmerise his audience with the hypnotic concoction of movement and sound. To call him "visionary" would be ill-suffice; the man not only sees but is a master of conveying, of showing, of beguiling presentation.