This Wednesday was something of a movie-binge for me. All of the films were released in 2013, and I wrote a review for each of them.
Under the Skin was the last film that I watched. It was the “main-event,” so to speak, and/or the one that I wanted to see most of all.
With Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy coming out on the 25th, it’s only fitting that I review her most-recent film a week before.
Under the Skin is a 2013 British-American science fiction film directed by Jonathan Glazer, other-wise only known for directing Birth and Sexy Beast. Produced by James Wilson and Nick Wechsler, it was written by Glazer and Walter Campbell as a loose adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Michael Faber.
The film stars Scarlett Johansson in the lead role and the only really notable character from the film.
It received generally positive reviews from critics and was released in the UK on March 14th and the US on April 4th.
The film follows around Scarlett Johansson playing the role of a nameless woman. Or at least, on the surface, she appears to be a woman. In-fact, however, she is an alien that seems to pray on several men in Scotland.
Notably, one interesting thing about this movie is that a lot of the scenes that were shot were actually non-scripted. They had Scarlett pick-up random guys, and then convinced them to be in the film afterward.
It doesn’t have too much of a story when all things are considered. It is more of a visual experience than anything else.
That picture of Scarlett above is more than a nicely selected photograph to hook in viewers. You actually see a similar scene repeated multiple times with her undressing. It is evidently a “black-hole” type-deal where the man is sucked down beneath them. And, it’s just, uh, like I said, it’s more of a surrealism kind-of deal.
There isn’t too much dialogue, but there is some. For what it’s worth, Scarlett can often be mesmerizing in her role. I won’t say that she carried the utmost of brilliance when it came to body-language or facial expression. She mostly follows with confusion, so the warmest qualities about this film can’t really be attributed to her.
The film definitely has a spectacle about it. I was intrigued for the most-part of it. I wouldn’t say that I was particularly entertained. It is over an hour and a half of basically the same thing with moderate changes, no character development or thorough storytelling.
I watched some of the bonus material on the DVD and somebody said that they actually had plans for a more character-driven movie but the budget wasn’t there. I have no idea why character-development costs so much money, especially considering some of the things that they DID do, but I digress.
There isn’t development for the characters. There isn’t much driving the story, and it never really surprises you. However, it isn’t a total bust because as I have said, it does have some interesting and surrealistic imagery that kept me amused for most of the movie. It undeniable carries itself with a presence, and that’s something I think makes it worth the watch. I suppose you can call it a psychedelic film, but at the end, I do believe that it offers too minimalistic of a premise to latch onto.
I am fine with a certain less-is-more approach, but this became borderline, nothingness.
In conclusion, I would call it a success in-terms that it has an elusive and distant stylization behind it. However, it’s all flash and no substance, but there was surprisingly enough flash to keep it together.
Thanks for reading…