Best film of 2014

hollywood-2-sign-300x225Richard utz is a sucker for a good movie, whether on the box or in a cinema. Here’s his number one for the year

A relative came to stay in my house when I was away. The place was his.

He called to say thanks at the end and added: “Hey , and we watched that dvd about Glasgow. Pretty weird.”

Yes, Under the Skin is not so much weird as elusive, unsettling, downright original. It’s my movie of the year and one I would advise watching with the doors and windows snapped shut.

Scarlett Johanssen eschews her usual glamour-puss roles to play a dead eyed waif of a girl in a black wig and fake fur jacket who ends up in the Glasgow urban night. She is an alien and her job, it seems, is to lure men to empty buildings where they are consumed in a black viscous liquid and then seemingly harvested by her. A second alien is her lookout and perhaps her minder and patrols the city on the back of a huge motorcycle.

Scarlett: Under The Skin

Scarlett: Under The Skin

She has no name and no background. Her Clydeside victims are kept in a jelly like state until….she finds warmth and compassion. And that is her ultimate undoing.

Director Jonathan Glazer (he did the Ray Winstone gem Sexy Beast) creates a disturbing, jagged, oblique story that allows you to see how human life may be observed by a foreign pair of eyes. Everything from a disco to eating cake is seen as strange, foreign and, well, alien.

The making of Under The Skin makes equally intriguing telling. Johanssen agreed to basically drive around the Glaswegian streets in a white van picking up men (with a hidden camera in the back). After the chat ups, if the men agreed to go ahead with the shoot, they signed a release and they finished by ad-libbing the scene. The one male they actively sought was a facially disfigured Scot. He was contacted through a charity that deals with people with deformities. It is through this character, shunned by society, that the the unnamed female alien finds the hidden jewel of humanity that softens – and defeats – her.

So, this is my number uno. Yes, it beats Pride, The Lego Movie, American Gigolo, Leviathan and one I have heard so much about but not yet seen – Boyhood.

Outstanding TV, of course, is True Detective with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. But that’s a different story, so to speak.

Let’s see what 2015 brings.

5 thoughts on “Best film of 2014

  1. I agree Under the Skin is the best for 2014 and I have seen Boyhood which I think runs it a close second of the films I’ve seen.

  2. I haven’t seen any of them.

    By the way, I am also surprised the US produces 1000 movies in a year. Seems a lot. I would love to know how much a typical movie costs to make.

  3. I must take issue with your film of year piece. Not seen your recommended one but for me the best by far was “Pride”.
    I really love that film, it has everything …love, friendship, warmth, hatred of Maggie, good cast and a brilliant crew (some of whom are good friends of mine!)
    The Brit Independent film awards agreed with my view too!

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