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UNDER THE SKIN: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Iris (Samantha Morton) and Rose (Claire Rushbrook) compete for their mother's love. Iris (19) is convinced that Rose (24), happily married and pregnant, is her mother's favourite. It comes as a devastating shock to both sisters when their mother dies suddenly of cancer. Unable to grieve, Iris loses all sense of herself and starts on a path of self-destruction. She leaves her job, breaks up with her boyfriend Gary (Matthew Delamere) and becomes sexually promiscuous. She becomes lonely and lost as her irrational behaviour isolates her from her friends. She sinks lower and lower, being humiliated, mugged and used. The overwhelming chaos of Iris's life has now touched Rose and the two finally share the pain and confusion of their mother's death.

Review by Louise Keller:
Available for the first time in Australia on DVD, Carine Adler's feature film debut takes a revealing look at a young girl's way of coping after the death of her mother. Adler broaches the subject with poignancy, sensitivity and strength. It is a brutal depiction of emotional devastation and grief experienced by the greatest of losses. The basic premise that men externalize their anger and grief, while women internalize it and head down a path of self-depravation, mutilation or promiscuity, comes from forensic psychiatrist Estela Welldon's book Mother, Madonna, Whore. Interesting concept, and one that could no doubt be the forum for much discussion.

As a film, Under the Skin is a powerful exploration, canvassing phases of denial, anger, self-hatred and losing all sense of self and self-respect. It shows the black sordid path to nowhere that a profound emotional tragedy or shock can bring. We humans are a complex lot, and our emotional persona is often hidden, even to ourselves.

The juxtapositioning of scenes such as the coffin being enflamed at the crematorium with scenes of sexual promiscuity are unsettling and make for emotional discomfort. The cast is tops, with a stand-out performance by Samantha Morton, whose plaintive, child/woman vulnerability is luminous on the screen. The notion of dressing in the clothes and wig of her lost mother, is not as bizarre as it may at first appear. And what she doesn't realise is that her aggressive self-destructive behaviour is responsible for her isolation and rejection. The jokes about the ashes - as is laughing at inappropriate times, is paramount to such awkward topics and situations. Compelling to watch, Under the Skin is sad, poignant, moving and revealing cinema. Insightful, it pierces to the core of human emotions, we become involved in Iris's journey.

DVD also features two theatrical trailers.

Published February 14, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

UNDER THE SKIN: DVD (R)
(UK, 1997)

CAST: Samantha Morton, Claire Rushbrook, Rita Tushingham, Christine Tremarco, Stuart Townsend, Matthew Delamere, Mark Womack, Clare Francis

PRODUCER: Kate Ogborn

DIRECTOR: Carine Adler

SCRIPT: Carina Adler

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Barry Ackroyd

EDITOR: Ewa Lind

MUSIC: Ilona Sekacz

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Paul Kelly

RUNNING TIME: 80 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 26, 1998

PRESENTATION: 1.85:1; DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: trailers

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella

DVD RELEASE: February 4, 2008







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