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United Kingdom 1997
Directed by
Carine Adler
80 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Under The Skin (1997)

Writer/director Carine Adler is firmly within the British realist tradition of film-making, nicely acknowledged here in the casting of Rita Tushingham, star of one of its classic works, A Taste Of Honey (1961), as the mother of Iris (Samantha Morton) a bolshie young lower middle class woman who goes off the rails in an orgy of one night stands when the former dies. 

Despite a striking performance by Morton in her first feature (although already very experienced in television), the film never manages to find much dramatic vigour. Perhaps this is because none of the characters/actors come anywhere near to being a foil for or balancing out the badly-behaving protagonist and her story, which seems rushed in its latter stage and too closely resembling the more skilfully realized material we are well familiar with from the films of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach (the cinematographer, Barry Ackroyd, is a long-time Loach collaborator whilst Claire Rushbrook, who plays Rose was one of the leads in Mike Leigh's Secrets & Lies (1996). Despite being much awarded on release it remains Adler's only feature to date (2008).

DVD Extras:  US and UK Trailers

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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