I wasn't the biggest fan of Birth, as this blog will attest, but I found Jonathan Glazer's return to feature filmmaking one of the year's most exciting events. In a time when an enjoyable trifle like the derivative Moon can be hoisted up as great conceptual sci-fi, Under the Skin appears as a singular object, stark to the point of being surreal even before it steps into sequences of inky voids and doomed, horny men. Admittedly, the film comes with its own reference points (chief among them The Man Who Fell to Earth), but what's remarkable is how many of the films that come to mind have little to do with sci-fi, instead recalling the work of Abbas Kiarostami or Morvern Collar. And as its hypnotic rhythms are disrupted in a final act of intimate chaos, it becomes clear that the film stands as one of the finest explorations of female sexuality and society's shaping of it. Women taught about sex as an external process learn the hard way about its actual, physical properties in ways both benign and terrifying.