Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jonathan Glazer's new film "Under the Skin" at Landmark Theatres: April 4 - May 1

Opens the first week of April at Landmark's Harvard Exit and at Sundance Cinema later in the month! A world away from anything Jonathan Glazer has ever realized on the screen, "Under the Skin" an adaptation of Michel Faber's novel of the same name is many things; a reflection on consciousness, a tension-filled tonal piece, a psychedelic road trip movie, a study on what it is to be human, an observation of the beauty of the natural world, and a exercise in terror and genuine 'otherness'. And that's not touching on it's central premise. Which you should do whatever you can to NOT read more on the film. Going in not knowing the crux of the protagonist's origin is one of the factors that will make it's viewing a significantly more effective, discomfiting and charged experience. This being a difficult thing to do in the internet age. Made that much more difficult by it's North American premier being almost seven months ago now at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. My own 'blind' first viewing made for a disturbing, putting-together-of-the-pieces in the tradition of the best of thrillers of decades past. Thankfully, the trailer doesn't reveal these central themes, yet (tactfully) and effectively conveys a sense of it's ominous, psychedelic, predatory tone. Only be read after viewing, Jonathan Romney's double-hitter of both a Short Takes: Under the Skin and Film of the Week for Film Comment give you a sense of it's distinction and significance. Romney stating; "Glazer’s third feature fuses a cryptic stranger-in-a-strange-land narrative, guerrilla shooting approach, and a tightly contained audiovisual scheme that makes for a claustrophobically seamless and unnerving drama of self-awakening. This frightening, unearthly film is the most striking achievement yet by a director whose first two features "Sexy Beast" and "Birth" were not quite fully realized, but suggested a will to unearth the strangeness within familiar genre forms. "Under the Skin" is not only genuinely experimental but feels authentically alien—almost something that a documentarist from another world might have shot here on a field mission." Which also earned it (again) Film of the Week status in Sight & Sound along with a feature on the powerful synergy of the film's image and sound, the latter supplied by British composer Mica Levi. Doing my best to not dissipate the experience of the film's disorientation and charged surprise, another to read after viewing would be Nicolas Rapold's invocation of some of the cinematic traditions inaugurated by Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Roeg and Andrei Tarkovsky as they relate to Glazer's "Lovely, Lethal and Out of This World" vision, which Stephen Holden calls, "A Much Darker Hitchhiker’s Guide" for the New York Times.