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Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Hit me with your best shot: Under the Skin
Over at the amazing filmexperience there is a wonderful series going on called 'Hit me with your best shot' where you get to choose your single favorite shot from the assigned movie and write the reason why you chose it.
Well for my first ever post participating I'm in a luck as even with the amazing amount of stunning shots in Under the Skin there is one that was truly the best one there.
As someone who read the novel the shot of the protagonist's ashes rising up in the air and mixing with snow was one of those moments in the movie where I felt Glazer was cleverly translating the novel into the language of film.
While Under the Skin the movie is a little bit like if you took out the whole novel and was left with merely the intriguing cover of it in your hands in terms of successfully adapting it on screen, it is quite the experience. While the film went overboard with making the protagonist unlikable (I had no sympathy for her after the baby scene) its last minutes were very moving because just like the final words in the book they are frighteningly and beautifully universal.
In the book the protagonist feels the biggest connection to our world in nature. She is fascinated with it and she feels comforted by it. Perhaps the most striking shot of the movie and the header of this blog, the shot of her juxtaposed over the shot of the forest - was Glazer's attempt at capturing the comfort nature gives her in a single shot. While if there was ever a shot to look more beautiful to do that I'd fail in trying to find it, I feel in terms of visuals capturing the novel it is only the one of her ashes flying above that succeeded to translate.
After the protagonist is injured and trapped in the car in the book events, she pushes the button and makes it explode so that humans wouldn't discover her alien body. She takes comfort in the fact she will become one with the world, finally become a part of it, her particles mixing with everything around her, with the trees and water she liked so much. In death succeeding, what she failed to accomplish in life.
While in the movie Glazer quite inexplicably twists the events of the novel and has the protagonist assassinated, the thought is very much the same because of that lovely lingering shot of her body burning - but not coming off as horrific - her lying on the ground, her ashes rising up among the tall trees and flying high above the Earth. Unlike the rest of the movie it's not frantic, strange or disturbing. It's beautiful.
It's a tranquility of the shot and how long it lasts that really sells this moment and is such a moment of saddening relief after the creepy experience of entire movie. And after all, we will all share the fate this peculiar alien faced in the end. The peace of this scene is what lingers on.