Sunday, July 6, 2014

Under The Skin DVD Review

Under The Skin is a polarizing, but ultimately brilliant science fiction art house film, which stars Scarlett Johanson as an extraterrestrial within a human disguise, who like a Syren, lures unsuspecting men to their doom on the promise of sex. Devoid of any true emotion at the beginning, the alien also has a handler in human disguise that covers up any loose ends left over from an encounter. The metaphor for a prostitute and her pimp is pretty obvious, but Under The Skin is far more ambitious as it leaves much of the action open to interpretation and shows humanity from an alien's perspective even after she begins to develop empathy for the men she encounters and ultimately tries to go native and live out her life on Earth in her human disguise, without fully understanding the people she has chosen to live among and facing danger from her handler who calls in additional help to search and apprehend her.

All of the interaction between the aliens is implied since they do not speak a word with each other throughout the entire film and none of the dialogue addresses the action overtly. The viewer gradually learns about the alien by what she does, but nothing is explained. Based on the novel by Michel Faber, Under The Skin is not so much a literal adaptation of the book, but rather a distillation of the essence as illustrated through the screen direction by acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Glazer. The film has some disturbing moments and defies conventions associated with the genre and yet it is something that sticks with the viewer long after viewing it and ultimately is a film worth multiple viewings to discover nuances within the performances. 

The DVD version of Under The Skin is one of the nicest standard definition discs I have had to pleasure to review so far this year. The interactive menus feature anormorphic widescreen full motion video scenes from the film and are elegant as well as easy to navigate. The picture quality when upconverted to 1080p looks indistinguishable from a Blu-ray Disc on TVs less than fifty inches. I screened it on a 47 inch LED HDTV. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack captures Mica Levi's score beautifully. English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired are encoded onto the DVD along with English and Spanish Language Subtitles.

A collection of short featurettes covering the camera (5:27), editing, (4:24), locations (5:17), music (6:14), poster design (2:08), production design (3:18), script (5:45), sound (1:56) and visual effects (4:11) and more are presented individually or can be viewed in succession via a "Play All" feature.

Preview trailers for Enemy (2:13), Locke (1:55), Spring Breakers (2:15), The Bling Ring (1:49) and an EPIX spot (1:35) wraps up the materials included on the DVD. A limited time redeemable coupon for a free Ultraviolet Digital Copy of Under The Skin is included within the DVD keep case.

Under The Skin will debut on DVD and Blu-ray Disc at retailers on and offline on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved.