Instead of expecting a narrator or a character to easily explain to you what is happening try paying attention to what is happening. The brilliant part about Under The Skin is how well it tells a story without dialog, without running commentary, and without the central character saying much at all. Think about the purpose of what the female character is doing. The entire story tells itself so easily if you let it. The problem with the modern movie-goer, and admittedly myself, is that we want things explained to us. We're happy to be treated like ignorant flatheads that don't know our butts from our elbows.
Look at any other review here on IMDb and pay close attention to what is being criticized. They are mostly the same things over and over again. They don't criticize what is conveyed through the film's imagery. Instead, they say things like "Not enough was explained. When going into any new film it's important to remember the medium you're choosing to entertain you. It's not like a book on tape, or music. Movies can explain the plot, story, character motivations, and roles without having to have a character, or narrator explain it to you. I was one of those people that didn't "get" this film and gave it an extremely low rating of 1 star.
But I decided to change to a 7 after much reflection on the content and thoughts it provoked afterward. After reading over 5 or 6 positive I got curious. Why do so many people think this movie is fantastic and innovative? I implore you to look up the video review by Renegade Cut.
This one video, in addition to Under The Skin, made me rethink what I think a movie should be. It can be artistic, and different, and entertaining without following the well established formula for modern movies. Personally, I feel like people in general are too harsh. A one star rating should be reserved for terrible films, with nothing to say at all. Well, that's not this film. It certainly has plenty to say about what it's like to be an outsider, and what a gift it truly is to be human. A one star rating should be reserved for the most thoughtless trash in existence. This isn't even close to that.
Was it for me? No, but I certainly "get" it. I get what the message is, and what it was trying to do. That I had to think to myself "What did I just watch? It made me think, re-evaluate, and wonder. As much as I like Guardians of the Galaxy, or Indiana Jones, I have to ask myself "Did either one of those films make me feel this way? As the skin becomes less firm with aging, it also forms wrinkles. Certain occupations leave skin marks that, depending upon duration and severity, may be transient or permanent. The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are etched by distinct alternating ridges and grooves that together constitute dermatoglyphics.
The ridges follow variable courses, but their arrangement in specific areas has a consistent structural plan. Though apparently continuous, the ridges have many interruptions and irregularities, branching and varying in length. Every small area of surface has ridge details not matched anywhere in the same individual or in any other individual, even in an identical twin. This infallible signature makes dermatoglyphics the best-known physical characteristic for personal identification. The epidermis is thicker on the palms and soles than it is anywhere else and is usually thicker on dorsal than on ventral surfaces.
Omitting the fine details, it is divisible everywhere into a lower layer of living cells and a superficial layer of compact dead cells. All the cells, living or dead, are attached to one another by a series of specialized surfaces called attachment plaques, or desmosomes.
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Thus, instead of being completely fused, the membranes of adjacent cells make a zipperlike contact, with fluid-filled spaces between the contact areas. This structural pattern ensures a concatenation of cells to one another so that they cannot be sloughed off easily; at the same time, it allows nutrient fluids to seep in from the vessels in the dermis. Epidermal cells, which multiply chiefly at the base in contact with the dermis, gradually ascend to the surface, manufacturing keratin as they go.
They finally die in the upper part, forming a horny layer. The epidermis is thickest on friction surfaces and thinnest over the eyelids, on the lower parts of the abdomen, and around the external genitalia. Unlike that of most other mammals, it has an intricately sculptured underside and does not lie flat upon the dermis. Seen from beneath, there are straight and branching ridges and valleys, columns and pits, all finely punctuated.
Because of this unevenness, it is almost impossible to state the exact thickness of epidermal tissue. Furthermore, individual differences, sex, and age have an enormous influence on the structure of the underside. Such labyrinthine patterns give human epidermis two unique advantages: The clear stratification of the epidermis is the result of well-defined changes in its major constituent cells—the keratinocytes, or corneocytes—as they move peripherally from the basal layer, where they are continuously formed by mitosis , to the skin surface, where they are lost.
In essence, the epidermis consists of a living malpighian layer, in contact with the basement membrane which is attached to the dermis , and a superficial cornified horny layer of dead cells. The malpighian layer consists of both the stratum basale and the stratum spinosum of the epidermis. The innermost cells of the malpighian layer, next to the basement membrane, make up the basal layer, or stratum basale.
Immediately peripheral to the basal layer is the spinous, or prickle-cell, layer—the stratum spinosum. Its cells have a spiny appearance due to the numerous desmosomes on their surface. Studies with the electron microscope have revealed that desmosomes are symmetrical, laminated structures in which some layers are contributed by the plasma membranes of adjoining cells and some form an intercellular component.
The spinous layer is succeeded by the granular layer, or stratum granulosum, with granules of keratohyalin contained in the cells. These small particles are of irregular shape and occur in random rows or lattices. The cells of the outer spinous and granular layers also contain much larger, lamellated bodies—the membrane-coating granules.
They are most numerous within the cells of the spinous layer. In the granular layer they appear to migrate toward the periphery of each cell and to pass into the intercellular spaces, where they discharge their waxy lipid components. Peripheral to the granular layer is the stratum corneum, or horny layer, in which the keratinocytes have lost their nuclei and most of their organelles and contents, including the keratohyalin granules. They become progressively flattened and filled with keratin and are ultimately desquamated.
Between the granular layer and stratum corneum, an unstainable stratum lucidum, or hyaline layer , can be recognized in palmar and plantar epidermis and some other regions palmar and plantar refer to the palm surface of the hand and the bottom surface of the foot, respectively. Horizontal stratification is the most obvious histological feature of the epidermis. There is also, however, distinct evidence of vertical organization. In thin epidermis, though not in thick plantar skin, the cornified cells can be shown to be arranged in regular stacks, which must reflect the underlying dynamic mechanisms.
It appears that several living spinous cells are precisely and symmetrically stacked beneath each cornified column and that these are related to their own basal cells; cells do not pass from one stock to another.
All keratinocytes are formed by mitosis cell division in the lower region of the malpighian layer. Most of the dividing cells are found in the basal layer, although it is likely that about one-third of the divisions occur above this level. Proliferating cells undergo a cycle: The complete mitotic cycle takes about 12 to 19 days.
The time for the passage of cells through the epidermis, from formation to desquamation, has been variously estimated at one to three months. In normal skin the production and loss of cells must be finely balanced; otherwise the thickness of the epidermis would fluctuate. When the epidermis becomes abnormally thick, as in the plaques of psoriasis, this balance is altered. Either the production of cells in the malpighian layer must be abnormally high or their time of passage must be decreased.
It is now generally agreed that such conditions result from a greatly increased production of cells; in fact, the cells move more, not less, rapidly through the epidermis. There is, however, a further controversial problem. If all the basal cells were continuously cycling, greater production could be achieved only by a substantial reduction in the duration of the cell cycle. An alternative hypothesis is that not all the cells are undergoing cycles at any one time, so that greater cell production can be achieved by recruiting resting cells into activity.
It seems likely that the epidermis does indeed contain noncycling cells, which can become activated, and that the cell cycle in psoriatic epidermis is speeded up only about twofold, not twelvefold, as once proposed. When skin is wounded, there is a burst of epidermal mitotic activity about 40 hours later. It is evident, therefore, that local mechanisms of control must come into play; either inhibitors are dispersed by wounding, or stimulating hormones are released, or both.
There is, on the one hand, some evidence of the existence of inhibitors, or chalones, but they have not been characterized. On the other hand, an epidermal growth factor EGF has been isolated from the salivary glands of mice and its chemical structure determined a single-chain, folded polypeptide with 53 amino acid residues and three intramolecular disulfide bonds. It is not, however, extractable from skin, though the receptor protein to which it attaches in order to perform its action is present in many skin cells, and a closely similar molecule has been isolated from human urine. The final product of the epidermis is the keratin that packs the cornified cells.
The term keratin is applied generally to the hard keratins of hair, horn, and nails, and to the soft keratin of the epidermis. They are all insoluble filamentous proteins, composed of polypeptide chains that are stabilized by links using two atoms of sulfur.
The source of the keratin of the stratum corneum has been a subject of controversy; but it is now generally accepted that about a third of its total mass is made up of proteins synthesized in the granular layer and the remainder from so-called intermediate filaments, which are present in keratinocytes from the basal layer outward. The barrier that prevents water loss from the body is situated in the lower part of the horny layer.
In this region the spaces between the compacted layers of keratin-filled cells contain lamellae of lipid wax that has been formed within the membrane-coating granules of the live epidermal cells below. The human skin is variously coloured and shows remarkable individual variations even within racial groups. The appearance of the skin is partly due to the reddish pigment in the blood of the superficial vessels. In the main, however, it is determined by melanin , a pigment manufactured by dendritic cells called melanocytes , found among the basal cells of the epidermis.
Their numbers in any one region of the body, which range from about 1, to more than 2, per square millimetre, are roughly the same within and between races. Colour differences are due solely to the amount of melanin produced and the nature of the pigment granules. When the skin becomes tanned on exposure to sunlight, the melanocytes do not increase in number, only in activity.
All melanocytes, whether resident in the basal epidermis or in the matrix of the hair, have migrated there during embryonic life from a region known as the neural crest. Each epidermal melanocyte is associated with a group of neighbouring keratinocytes into which it transfers granules of pigment by way of long, branching dendrites. The whole has been termed an epidermal melanocyte unit. Once inside the epidermal cells, the melanin granules tend to move above the nucleus, forming a shroud over it.
Such an orientation of melanin suggests that it is there to protect the cells from damaging ultraviolet rays, and experiments with tissue cultures support this view. Melanin is of two kinds: Both are formed within the melanocytes by the initial oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine with the aid of the enzyme tyrosinase; subsequently their synthetic pathways diverge. In addition to protecting the skin from ultraviolet radiation , epidermal pigmentation forms epigamic markings.
The heavy pigmentation of the nipples and areolae of breasts, as well as that in the labia minora, penis, and scrotum, is related to sexual communication. Although synthesis of protective keratin is clearly a major function of the epidermis, the discovery of an immunoregulatory role for the epidermis has revolutionized concepts of its importance in the immune defense systems of the host.
In addition to melanocytes, human epidermis contains another system of dendritic cells , which do not manufacture pigment. Their distribution extends farther toward the skin surface than that of the pigment cells. After their discovery by the German physician Paul Langerhans in , their function remained obscure until it was realized that they are a vital part of the immunologic mechanism.
Electron microscopic examination has revealed that the morphological hallmark of the Langerhans cell is a unique tennis-racket-shaped organelle, the Birbeck granule. By virtue of their situation, they are among the first cells to come into contact with foreign particulate substances encountering the skin. Their function is aided by the large surface area created by the dendritic processes of the cell.
By means of specialized receptors on the cell membrane, the Langerhans cell recognizes invading as opposed to host molecules. By conveying this information to the lymphoid system, the body is able to mount a defensive immunologic response to the foreign material. The concept that the role of keratinocytes themselves is confined to the synthesis of a horny protective outer covering for the skin has also become outmoded.
Keratinocytes secrete a number of immunostimulatory high-molecular-weight peptides, collectively termed epidermal cytokines. One of these, the epidermal-cell-derived thymocyte-activating factor ETAF , is also secreted by epidermal Langerhans cells. Human hair has little protective value, even in hirsute excessively hairy persons. Eyelashes, eyebrows, and the hairs inside the external ears and nostrils have obviously useful functions, and scalp hair may be thick enough to provide some protection from the midday Sun. The beard and mustache, though, are embellishments, which establish maleness and are likely to be concerned with sexual or social communication; and axillary and pubic hair probably form part of scent-disseminating mechanisms.
All hair follicles are surrounded by sensory nerves, and pressure on the hair shaft is transmitted to these nerves. Other mammals, including subhuman primates, have highly specialized sensitive hair follicles around the eyes, lips, and muzzle. The follicles from which these hairs emerge are rich in nerves and are surrounded by a sinus filled with blood. Humans are the only animals with no sinus hair follicles; but human hair follicles, particularly those of the face, are well supplied with nerves, and human skin is probably more sensitive than that of any other mammal.
Hairs are manufactured by follicles. Essentially, these are tubelike pockets of the epidermis that extend through most or all of the depth of the skin and enclose a small papilla of dermis in their base. They lie at an angle to the skin surface. Two-thirds of the way up is a bulge, and attached to it are wisps of smooth muscle fibre that, on contracting, pull the follicle to a more or less perpendicular position.
This action also puckers the skin into a mound on the surface—a so-called goose pimple. Exactly as in other mammals, the human hair is formed by division of cells in the region known as the bulb, at the base of the follicle. Pigment is incorporated from melanocytes in this region. Human hair follicles also go through cycles of activity. After a period of growth, the hair becomes clubbed, rather than cylindrical, in shape. Fibrous rootlets anchor the club to the surrounding follicular tissue. While forming the club, the follicle shrivels up, the lower part becoming largely dissipated.
Follicles remain dormant for variable periods of time.
When they become active again, they reconstruct a bulb that manufactures a new hair. As the new hair works its way to the surface, the club hair is loosened from its moorings and shed. The activity of the hair follicles in the scalp is not synchronized, so that there is a small but steady molt of about 50 to hairs a day from a total of around , follicles.
There is, nevertheless, evidence of seasonal fluctuation, with the greatest hair loss in late summer and fall. A follicle may continue its activity for a long time, and hairs sometimes grow for several years and attain considerable lengths. Even in the human scalp—where the hair follicles are dense and vigorously productive—baldness occurs in a large number of individuals.
Baldness is not a disease but is a systematic involution of hair follicles, culminating in organs similar to the primitive embryonic follicles; the numbers of follicles do not necessarily diminish. Until late in fetal life there is no line of demarcation between the forehead and scalp. After the fifth month of gestation the follicles in the rest of the scalp grow larger, but those of the forehead do not.
Temelcoff is a silent man who struggles with English yet they are able to transcend their social and language barriers through the commonality of their scars— his from work, hers from being "always unlucky. He eventually falls asleep and wakes to find a doctor treating his arm and the nun gone. As a young man, Patrick leaves the profession that killed his father and sets out to find the vanished millionaire Ambrose Small.
This leads him to Small's mistress Clara Dickens and to a relationship with her. Eventually, Patrick loses interest in finding Small, hoping only to remove Clara from Small. Clara tells Patrick that she will leave him to go after Small and warns him not to follow her. Three years later, Clara's friend Alice unexpectedly arrives and tells Patrick that Clara's mother might know where Clara is. Patrick sets out to search for Clara. On meeting Clara's mother, Patrick learns that Clara and Small are living in his old hometown. Patrick finds Small living in a house owned by a timber company, and Small attempts to set him on fire—once by dropping kerosene on him and then by throwing a Molotov cocktail.
Patrick escapes to his hotel room and is visited by Clara, who dresses his wounds and makes love to him before returning to Small. Patrick rents an apartment in a Macedonian neighborhood. He is accepted into the neighborhood and is invited by Kosta, a fellow dynamiter, to a gathering at the Waterworks—a place where various nationalities gather for secret political discussions and entertainment.
Patrick witnesses a performance in which an actor repeatedly smashes her hand against the stage and rushes forward to help her. He recognizes her as Alice Gull. His act of helping her turns out to be part of the show. Patrick visits Alice and learns about Hana, her nine-year-old daughter. Patrick and Alice become lovers. Patrick finds work in a leather company through Alice's friends and meets Nicholas Temelcoff, now a baker.
On studying the bridge, Patrick learns about the nun that had fallen off, whose body was never found. He makes the connection after talking with Temelcoff and promises to look after Hana. Patrick travels by train, north of Huntsville , then takes a steamer to a Muskoka hotel frequented by the rich. He burns down the hotel, then escapes on a small boat, traveling to the next island, where he meets the blind Elizabeth.
We learn that Alice has died suddenly and that Patrick committed the arson out of anger. Patrick swims out to a boat, knowing he will be caught by the authorities. In the Kingston Penitentiary , Patrick and two other prisoners, Buck and Caravaggio, are painting the roof. Patrick and Buck paint Caravaggio in the blue of the roof so he can hide and escape.
He steals new clothes and changes his dressing. Jumping a milk train , he makes his way north toward cottage country.