Under The Skin

DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

Read Paul Griffiths's film review of Under The Skin
Under The Skin 1997

An unnerving and compelling debut from director Carine Adler, Under The Skin provided Samantha Morton with her first film lead after making waves on television. BFI, that partly funded the production with Channel 4, re-releases this trenchant film on DVD, thus bringing Morton's blistering 1997 performance back to the small screen.

The film follows twenty-something Iris (Morton), as the premature death of her mother causes her world to unravel. Grieving, lacking and abandoned, she rages against conventionality and turns to a bitter series of one night stands, whilst struggling to find a new sense of self and direction. More than just a story of bereavement, the film attempts to exercise the boundaries of expressionistic cinema as it explores female relationships, sexuality and language in society. All the while, Morton's fascinating portrayal captivates, as Iris sinks deeper in her search for a new life.

Copy picture

The very notable film is not particularly flattered by an unremarkable DVD transfer. The picture quality is not bad, but not great. Perhaps, this is fitting for the kitchen sink style and tone of the piece, but it does become more apparent on a decent sized TV.

There are two features and a basic scene selection menu system. The original trailer is intriguing in that it plays up the piece as more adrenaline-fuelled than it is - no credit to the emotional and psychological power of the film.

Fever is Carine Adler's short film from 1994. Following the meandering thoughts and actions of Claire, the origins of Under The Skin are evident, but this is a more disjointed affair. Katrin Cartlidge looks earnest enough in the lead and a cameo performance from Mark Williams (Mr "I'll-get-my-coat" from The Fast Show, etc) is suitably morose, although it's much less inspiring than other shorts out there, despite an almost tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. In comparison to the power and depth of the main film, this seems to be very much a dry run.

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2005
Share this with others on...
Under The Skin packshot
An exploration of grief and identity through an experiment in feminist cinematic expression.
Amazon link

Product Code: BFIVD644

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.66:1

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Fever (1994), short film by Carine Adler; trailer

Search database: