Hey, all. Felt like sharing some thoughts about ‘Under the Skin’. Reviews of this film have been all over the spectrum. Some audiences have booed the film and walked out of the theater while others consider it a masterpiece. What do I think about it? Read on, loyal readers. Read on…
‘Under the Skin’ is a difficult movie to talk about. For many films, I feel the best way to approach them is to go in totally cold – knowing as little about the film as possible. ‘Under the Skin’ is not one of those movies. I feel you have to know a few things going in for this movie to make sense. First, this is an art film, so it’s quite slow and has lots of strange imagery in it. Second – and this is related to the first – (since it’s an art film) don’t expect a traditional ‘Act One, Act Two and Act Three’ structure. That’s not present either. Lastly, Scarlett Johansson (the protagonist) is not human - she an alien pretending to be human. That may feel like a spoiler but it’s in the promotional material so I feel comfortable sharing that here. Also, I feel that information is necessary to understanding the film. So, if you want to see it, know what you’re going into.
Scarlett Johansson (as stated above) plays an alien that comes to earth. She then goes about the task of seducing men and bring them back to her apartment. What happens there – and where it goes as a film – I’ll leave for you to see yourself.
Much ado has been made of the fact that Johansson is nude in it – a lot. Now, while she is naked for much of the film, what is initially sexy/attractive becomes terrifying/repulsive – and she looks exactly the same. The movie has a weird way of playing with your expectations and how society defines beauty. It also has a weird way of getting (sorry, I gotta do it) under your skin (Ha!). It’s just downright creepy. Also, although it’s not a horror film, there were some sections that I found absolutely terrifying.
What I loved most about the film was how alien it was. Think about it: when is the last time that you’ve watched a science fiction movie and been surprised at anything? You’re normally like, ‘Oh, that’s a spaceship’ or ‘Those are aliens’ or ‘That’s a lightsaber’ or whatever. What was once new and strange has become thoroughly familiar. It has become standard in the “language of sci-fi films”. However, part of the reason science fiction films were so successful is because of how strange they were – how alien they were. This movie understands that and runs with it.
There are some shots in this film that I have no idea what they are. None – and I love that. I’d be looking at a shot and be like, ‘What in the world am I looking at? Is that light…or darkness…WHAT IS HAPPENING….?!’ I loved the fact that it was weird, it was different. It was honestly alien. I was uncomfortable because I couldn’t readily put what I was seeing into a box of things that I understood. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened in a movie – and I think that’s awesome.
Is it a perfect film? No. Is it an engaging, creepy and thoroughly interesting one? Absolutely. If that sounds like something you’d be into, I highly recommend it.
Final Verdict: B+
Have you seen it? What did YOU think? Comment below, let me know!
Much love, y’all. Talk to you soon.