S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Under the Skin [Blu-ray]
(Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Film4 and British Film Institute (BFI)
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,864,669,622 bytes
Feature Size: 18,187,481,088 bytes
Video Bitrate: 17.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 15th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3150 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3150 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), English, Spanish, none
• 10 Production Featurettes - Camera, Casting, Editing etc. (42:23)
• Previews (12:12)
Description: An alien assumes the form of an alluring female (Scarlett Johansson) and prowls the streets of Scotland, leading lonely and unsuspecting men to their doom in director Jonathan Glazer's surreal adaptation of Michel Faber's genre-bending novel of the same name.
Scarlett Johansson as an extraterrestrial femme fatale cruising the
streets of Glasgow in Jonathan Glazer’s cerebral sci-fi horror fantasy “Under
the Skin” is an indelible personification of predatory allure.
Wearing a dark wig and a fake-fur jacket, her character, an alien with a
sinister agenda, is as fetishized an object of desire as Marlene
Dietrich admired through the lens of Josef von Sternberg. You may also
think of Ava Gardner, as perfect a female specimen as Hollywood ever
produced, coldly working her wiles.
Johansson delivers a career best performance as the alien seductress -
with her cool, blank expression and air of chilling detachment, she is
nothing less than astonishing (even the middle-class London accent she
adopts is excellent). It's an extraordinary piece of work, haunting,
entrancing and utterly convincing - she's even more alien than David
The Man Who Fell To Earth, her nearest cinematic equivalent
(well, next to Natasha Henstridge in
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Under the Skin is released on Blu-ray from Lions Gate (also coming out by Studio Canal in Region 'B'). The video portion seems a little technically under-whelming being single-layered with a low bitrate. I suspect it was shot on HD (but printed to 35mm). Anyway, it looks fine. There are a lot of impressive visual effects and much of the film is very dark. I didn't see a hint of noise and the contrast was adept. The image carried some depth and the Scottish countryside sequences are very pleasing. Scarlett looks... head-turning - she's great by the way. The 1080P presentation is as pristinely clean as you might anticipate. I may compare the UK Blu-ray one day. The film has so much to offer visually which really demands this higher video resolution format, however the audio transfer really blew me away.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is more than half the film experience, IMO and the DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at a healthy 3150 kbps sounds amazingly intense at times, rich, crisp and constantly evocative. The score is by Mica Levi (her only film composer credit to date), also known as "Micachu" - augmented by performances by Deacon Blue, Darude and Soundtree. This is quite unique and adds a dramatic expression to the film presentation. The lossless sounds amazing at times and handles the film's enigmatic rhythms with grace exporting epic and encompassing audio. There are optional English and Spanish subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.
There are ten separate 'Production-related' featurettes with topics like 'Camera', 'Casting', 'Editing' etc. It has some the the filmmakers and crew supplying information. It runs almost 45-minute and is detailed giving a sense of where the energy was spent in creating the film. There are also over a dozen minutes of previews to skip through before starting the feature and the BD disc is 'book-markable'. A commentary might be too much as it is not a film to dissect - as it really relies on your own interpretations, although we'd all love to know the director's intentions.
P.S. Please don't send me email that you hated it and didn't understand it.Maybe just re-watch it.
July 6th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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