Picking a singular image from Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin is a tall order. The imagery from the stark film haunted me since I saw it back in April, so I settled at home to watch it for a second time. When I first saw it, it overwhelmed me. I don't think I had ever seen a movie like Skin before, but watching it in my living room an altogether different experience.
When you watch Skin in a theater, you are hit with the large colors and the striking cinematography. When I just watched it at home, it felt eerily intimate. The hypnotic music echoed throughout my apartment. You don't simply watch Glazer's latest--it envelops you and you experience it. Most movies wordlessly instruct you to sit back and watch the story unfold, but Skin doesn't let you off that easy. It may not spell everything out for you, but I don't think I was ever confused. You never think you don't know what the characters are doing even though it feels like a silent movie at times.
I picked two shots, because I love the differences between Scarlett Johansson interacting with other humans and I loved seeing her seduce the men in that inky black room (bonus points to Glazer for allowing us to see some men full nude on screen for a change).
The first comes early on when she goes to a busy mall. The shot is from behind her (as if you were the shopper right after her) as she descends an escalator. In any cartoon of an saucer landing on Earth, there would be a platform that comes out of the shapeship to the alien could walk out. It's kind of like Scarlett is descending among the citizens of Earth, and we have no idea.
After she seduces her second man, it cuts to the darkness where she leaves them. The guy is stuck and the shot is positioned near his belly button facing behind him. We see a nude Johansson walking back to pick up her clothes as the poor guy spies up at her. I wondered if he thought this was part of the encounter, or does he realize he won't be bragging to his friends the next morning? The poor guys have a shimmer of blue coloring in that darkness, and they are quite literally drowning in blue balls.
Hit Me With Your Best Shot is a series on Nathaniel Rogers' The Film Experience. Contributors are asked to find their favorite shot from the movies selected for a particular season. Rogers has done it for some time now, and you can check out everyone's submissions here (I personally began last week with a submission from Tim Burton's Batman Returns).