"ISSERLEY always drove straight past a hitch-hiker when she first saw him, to give herself time to size him up. She was looking for big muscles; a hunk on legs. Puny, scrawny specimens were no use to her.
AT first glance, though, it could be surprisingly difficult to tell the difference. You'd think a lone hitcher on a country road would stand out a mile, like a distant monument or a grain silo; you'd think you would be able to appraise him calmly as you drove, undress him and turn him over in your mind well in advance. But Isserley had found it didn't happen that way. p1, Under the Skin
That's how Michael Faber's novel, Under the Skin begins. Isserley's chilling inner monologue really pulled me in, especially the creepy bit about undressing him and turning him over in your mind. After such an ominous beginning I'm itching to know what she's going to do when she finds her well-muscled victim; have sex with him or eat him! I haven't read the book yet, and I'm not sure I'll have time but check out the details I pulled from Barnes and Noble. Scarlett Johansson stars in the film set to open here in the states on April 4th although it made the film festival rounds last year, premiering at Telluride in August; I've posted the trailer below.
"Alternately gorgeous and terrifying, lyrical and brutal, Under the Skin compels and teases . . . Satisfying and successful." —Newsday
"In this haunting, entrancing novel, Michel Faber introduces us to Isserley, a female driver who cruises the Scottish Highlands picking up hitchhikers. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, she listens to her hitchhikers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them if they should disappear. A grotesque and comical allegory, Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory—our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion—to present a surreal representation of contemporary society run amok.
I bet you're dying to see the trailer now, huh?
Under the Skin is directed by Jonathan Glazer who gave us the controversial Birth - the one where Nicole Kidman takes a bath with a ten year old - and Sexy Beast which earned Ben Kingsley a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for playing said sexy beast.
The blurbs for Under the Skin say we haven't seen anything like this but while lit critics were wild about Faber's novel, I'm hearing that Glazer's adaptation may actually be a bit of a letdown. It was penned by first timer Walter Campbell. Having just read Mark Helprin's luminous Winter's Tale and then seen Akiva Goldman's mediocre movie based on it, I'm getting used to the disappointment.
On the other hand when it comes to 'seeing' the film, the 'we've never seen anything like it' promise may not be complete hype. The visual style of the self-described horror, thriller, sci-fi movie revealed in the trailer is an arresting medley of extreme close-ups, odd angles, and lots of shadow and darkness. You may disagree but I think it looks thrilling!