Under The Skin. White Van (Wo)Man

under theFor our male readers, we’ll sum this up in three words: Scarlett Johansson naked.  There, you’ve dropped everything and are now sprinting to the nearest multiplex. Female readers, let’s continue.

Scarlett is an alien who has landed on Earth. Specifically, the outskirts of Glasgow. Here we could make all sorts of jokes about her fitting right into The Gorbals, but we won’t. Naked (and refreshingly un-Hollywood skinny), she peels stonewash drainpipe jeans and a fake fur jacket from a female corpse handily knocking around in the gutter.

Suitably kitted out, Scarlett procures herself a white van and cruises the night time streets. On spotting single men she pulls over and, in a cut glass English accent, winsomely proclaims herself lost. On the pretext of helping with directions, she invites them to hitch a ride. Clearly, they never listened to their mothers about accepting lifts from strangers. Cutting to a surreal, blacked-out alternative world, the chosen men follow an alluring Scarlett to their deaths in a pool of viscous liquid. Her predatory path continues until she picks up a badly disfigured man, whose shyness seems to trigger some level of alien compassion.

This may be the most deliberately opaque and out-there film The Sloth has seen. Nothing is explained. We don’t know where she’s come from or why she targets the men – lust? food? There is scant dialogue and an oppressive, menacing score. Visually disjointed, it jumps confusingly from abstract images to the grey, drab, urban Glasgow streets. Evidently concerned with the shady morals of sexual power play, it may be more at home in an art gallery than a cinema, such is its obliqueness. It fascinated us, disturbed us, bored us and annoyed us in equal measures. You may love it, you may hate it, but you will certainly remember it. One thing’s for sure, those male readers now eagerly plonked in their local Odeon are not getting what they expected. Mwah ha ha haaah.

UK release 14 March. A bit too avant-garde? Want something dark, but slightly more accessible? Try Only Lovers Left Alive.

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