Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom, 2013. Film4, British Film Institute, Silver Reel, Creative Scotland, Sigma Films, FilmNation Entertainment, Nick Wechsler Productions, JW Films, Canal+, Scottish Screen, UK Film Council. Screenplay by Walter Campbell, Jonathan Glazer, based on the novel by Michel Faber. Cinematography by Daniel Landin. Produced by Nick Wechsler, James Wilson. Music by Mica Levi. Production Design by Chris Oddy. Costume Design by Steven Noble. Film Editing by Paul Watts. Gotham Awards 2014. Independent Spirit Awards 2014. Toronto International Film Festival 2013. Washington Film Critics Awards 2014.
An alien lands on earth and takes the form of Scarlett Johansson in its quest to find out more about the inhabitants of this planet. Traversing the streets of various cities in Scotland, she speaks to random strangers from the comfort of her vehicle before taking them home and, in a series of fantastic, visually hypnotic sequences, they are never seen again. Jonathan Glazer’s uncomplicated but intoxicating adaptation of the novel by Michel Faber uses a fascinating technique of having Johansson speak to non-professionals who were not aware at the time that they were on camera (participants were informed later and given the opportunity to either remain in the film or have their footage excised). The later part of the film, where she goes deep into snowy forests in the exploration of a love affair, has moments of frustrating dullness but they do give way to a superb conclusion. The overall effort is one of terrific originality, its images and otherworldly musical score leaving an effect you will be soaking in for days.