Like an entirely harmonious marriage of a Matthew Barney video-piece and a Michael Haneke art-drama, 'Under the Skin' rolls along as a sequence of very slow, loosely connected, opaque scenes—often beautiful, sometimes less so.
What starts as an intriguing art film about a nonhuman(?) serial killer(?) eventually ends up in the less interesting waters of Frankenstein/Being There/Brother From Another Planet exploration of the human race through an alien's eyes. I'm generally inclined to roll my eyes at stories of this…
It's as good an action/sci-fi movie as has ever been made, and on top of it, it's a subversive, complex, yet highly entertaining examination of the cost of social order. It has held up beautifully over the past 15 years, and in retrospect, it's one of the best movies of the 1990s.
It's perfectly fine for a movie to have an elusive core, to not be about anything in particular. But when that is the case, it should at least populate the screen with enough varied ideas to invite engagement. The Master is a claustrophobic, one-track tale(?) and so the overwhelming emotions it invokes are befuddlement and, often, boredom.
The titular Master is very mildly based on Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard, and references that spell this out do the movie no favors,…