Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
Under the Skin
A mysterious seductress preys upon the population of Scotland
Jonathan Glazer's atmospheric, visually arresting abstraction stars Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien who prowls the streets of Glasgow in search of prey: unsuspecting men who fall under her spell, only to be consumed by a strange liquid pool.
I don't get it.
I don't get it.
At least give it a rating.
But I don't get it.
Was it good?
Would you recommend it?
I don't know.
How does that work?
I don't know.
Just give it 2 1/2 or something.
Because it's good.
Then what's the issue?
I don't know.
For fuck's sake.
I don't understand it. It confused me.
Just your plebian mind.
You know this whole review is entirely self-indulgent, right?
So why are we doing it?
Only thing we could think of.
Also we're attention whores who like likes.
It is rare for me to finish a film and be unable to form any real opinion on it. Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, loosely based on Michel Faber’s novel of the same name, is a film that deliberately defies easy understanding. It is a befuddling, enigmatic and contradictory work that demands total engagement from its audience as it avoids all the trappings of a conventional movie. Yet after I left the theatre, both impressed and disappointed, I have been unable to shake the film from my thoughts.
It is a film of surprising contrasts - it is simultaneously mesmerising yet tedious, surreal yet mundane, erotic yet sterile. It is this internal conflict that makes the film so difficult to…
ScarJo cruisin' the hills of Scotland and channeling her inner Natasha Henstridge in Jonathan Glazer's incredibly unique one-of-a-kind viewing experience. Motorcycle zoom zoom. ScarJo naked? Hooker high heels. Ants. The way ScarJo looks in her jeans. Red lipstick makes you more fuckable. Minivan cruisin'. Disorganized directions. You should always buckle up for safety. Lonely guy. Chatty chap. Seductive strip. Disappearing wang. Ocean waves. Wetsuit chum. Lifesaver. ScarJo's jacket. Getting hit in the head with a rock fuckin' hurts. Crying baby. Clubbin' for some lovin'. Leprechaun sounding gent. Sexy backwards walk. Weird as fuck faces. Sideways cock. Fade to what the fuckin' fuck fuck fuckin'? Red rose. ScarJo's eyes. Smart dude. Face first fall. Attack the Block rejects. Hoodie man is…
How do you even rate a film when you sort of loved almost everything about it yet have no concrete idea of what it was all about? It's pretty rare in cinema to find yourself constantly struggling with your very own emotions, unsure of which side to settle with for whenever a step is taken in either direction, something from the opposite end of the spectrum keeps bringing you back in the middle.
Under the Skin is one film that provides such unique experience. It is a mystical blend of horror, sci-fi & mystery that's easily one of the most perplexing, challenging & polarising narratives to come out in years and tells the story of a mysterious woman who drives through the…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I love it when a straightforward story gets a unique treatment. Glazer's film is deliberately alienating, visually and aurally arresting and singularly engaging. I say the latter with no small amount of reserve as it asks a lot of its audience making it difficult to click with. But click with it I did.
Glazer opens with the birth of Johansson's character. In a beautiful visual sequence, we hear her find her voice followed by a rather disconcerting scene in which she clothes herself. Disconcerting because of the compete lack of empathy for the dead girl she is plucking her new wardrobe from. Against a sterile white background we see her clinically do what needs to be done. She gives the…
The first half or so left me cold, it felt just like pretentious arthouse fare, but as it continued, particularly with the scenes involving the disfigured man (well played by I believe a non-actor), I really started to get its rhythm. In the end, I really liked it. The score was an interesting and good mix of modern with some sound cues that sounded straight out of British early 70s horror movies (that excellent period that included Witchfinder General, Blood on Satan's Claw etc).
It really drew me in. Johanssen gives a great performance.
It's great to see some thinking scifi - I'd recommend this as a double bill with Under The Black Rainbow for a cerebral, though visually beautiful, double bill.
Strange and vague, yet beautifully dark and mysterious aesthetics. My reaction of confusion, fear and curiosity to the "aliens" and their base is a feeling I dont experience with other aliens in films, which is probably how I would react if I they actually existed. Even though the thick Scottish accents were hard to follow at times, the film told a lot more of its story when no one was speaking but the music and visuals.
There's little doubt of the talent behind the making of Under the Skin. Long, drawn-out shots bathe each frame in a shroud of mystery, and Scarlett Johansson's creepy, non-blinking persona gives the film a feeling of horror.
In the abstract, Lynchian depths in which Under the Skin explores, there's signature polish. Shots are creepy, colorful, and surreal. Rules are established, and the consistency sets the foundation for a thrilling plot.
Unfortunately, the scenes where the film succeeds are shown far too quickly. The heights of mystery and suspense are built upon slowly, but incorporated all too quickly. By the time the shots get longer, and the scenery changes from crowded streets to open hills and forests, the tension is lost.…
A visually inventive curious puzzle that will definitely not be to everybody's tastes. Scarlett Johansson, who has been taking on some intriguing roles lately, is The Woman Who Fell To Earth. After a lengthy, artistic opening full of flashes of lights and snatches of words (starting with black screen and no sound, it made me think there was something wrong with my TV), we meet the Woman. Long periods of the film are of her in a van driving around, looking. Average, everyday people pass by, and the camera captures all their faces as they go about their business, apparently unaware that they are being filmed. The Woman is on a mission - she is unemotionally observing men, scanning them,…
Was certainly a unique film. Seemed like it was intentionally confusing and obscure though.
I had to wait for a second viewing (March 25, 2015) of UTS before committing any thoughts to record. As a film experience that I couldn't have been prepared for, with its deliberate pacing and distanced narrative, on first sitting I was just fully absorbed in finding a complicity with its rhythms and comprehending the story. And now there is vindication. Second time around, with story and style under my belt, the visual details, the lingering and sustained shot holds, and the soundscape editing all come into sharp focus. Whereas first time I was taken by the invention and originality, now the film has come together as an artistic whole, an immersive meditation on humanity as observed from an unfamiliar…
While I found the premise of Under The Skin interesting, this film was much too slow, weird and bleak for me to truly enjoy. The fact that the greater purpose of what you are watching will never be understood and the only thing we ever get to know about the woman (Johansson) is what we see, it's difficult to emotionally connect with any of it. That being said, trying to interpret her emotions as this vague story progresses and how they may conflict with her mysterious origins does at least provide some enjoyability while observing her time here on Earth.
More of an experience than a film, Under the Skin is one of the best pieces of Avante Garde cinema made in the last decade. It challenges the viewer and is an extremely unique vision.
Sci-fi movies are never about aliens or the future, they are about us and the present. Under the Skin offers an artful dispassionate view at the world today, and even though the action takes place in Scotland the somewhat elusive message of the film can be extrapolated to a Western scale.
Scarlett Johansson embodies an alien who uses sexual attractiveness to lure men for what could presumably be considered alien nutrition. As she discovers and learns more about human empathy we get a detached stare at the superficial perception of beauty nowadays. Carnal relationships driven by lust leave people inert in front of love and incapable or afraid of seeing what is under the skin.
A highly sensorial film that will arouse your intellect. Must see.
P.S: it also has the most haunting music score in recent time. Mica Levi did a fantastic job.
Now complete: The Dissolve's 2014 Movies To See Checklist
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).