Showing posts with label Jonathan Glazer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jonathan Glazer. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Under the Skin



It’s been ten years since Jonathan Glazer’s last film and nearly a decade and a half since his wonderful screen d├ębut Sexy Beast. His third film, Under the Skin, is a dark and chilling science fiction horror, loosely based on Michael Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name. It stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who preys on men, using her siren like looks and charm to pull them towards the rocks and to their demise. The movie is incredible, at times getting close to the best I’ve seen in cinema. It veers wildly though towards the opposite extreme with passages of nothingness which reminded me of the torrid time I had while watching Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Extremes exist elsewhere too with sequences which wouldn’t look out of place in an art gallery side by side with almost documentary style shooting, filmed with hidden cameras.

The film opens with an abstract scene, perhaps the formation of an eye or the creation of a being. It signals birth or re-birth and sets us up for what is to come. From the very first moments we know this is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before and it doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The opening establishes the link between the known and unknown, creating tantalising glimpses into who or what we are about to be confronted with before concluding on the recognisable image of an eye, at first still, then moving, depicting consciousness. Although it – or she – may well be aware of her surroundings, the alien shows no emotion regarding what she sees. She’s a cold machine, showing not even contempt for her victims. She’s focussed and has a singular task. In one of the film’s most horrifying scenes, a baby is left stranded on a beach. Though screeching for help, she’s ignored by the strange visitor who acts coldly, even blindly to the presence of the child. As humans we want to protect and mother the infant but to the alien, its screams don’t even register. It’s a scene that sent chills down my spine.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sexy Beast



Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) is an ex safe cracker now living in retirement in Spain. He and his best friend Aitch (Cavan Kendall) live idyllic lives in the Spanish sun but their relaxed lives are interrupted by the arrival of terrifying London gangster Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) who tries to forcefully persuade Gary to do another job back in the UK. Despite his protestations Don won’t take no for an answer and an uneasy standoff develops between the two men.

I’ve never been a fan of the Guy Ritchie style London based gangster films and get annoyed that British films are generally divided into costume drama or East End Gangster flicks. Sexy Beast feels very different from the Gut Ritchie style of film and reminded me more of a Nicholas Winding Refn film. The colour saturation, violence and electro, bass heavy soundtrack are all signatures of his work and had I been told this was one of his films I wouldn’t have doubted it. The film is actually the debut feature of Director Jonathan Glazer who is better known as a Director of adverts and music videos. He brings his easy on the eye style to the big screen and here creates a memorable film which also has one of the best Ben Kingsley performances I’ve seen.