Movie Review - Under the Skin
Under the Skin is an abstract exploration of the human condition from the mind of writer-director Jonathan Glazer, whose striking visual tone provides the perfect canvas for the film, and creates an atmosphere that is both unfamiliar and disaffecting. Now, I absolutely loved the metaphysical nature of the subject matter, but unfortunately this is not a movie for everyone. If you need a straight-forward story line with defined protagonists, antagonists, and resolution, then this one will probably leave you out in the cold. Additionally, if you're simply tuning in for the prospect of seeing the lovely Scarlett Johansson naked, you are bound to be disappointed by the titillating yet non-sexual presentation of the female body. But if you're a fan of inventive story-telling and a more conceptual approach to the visual narrative, you might consider this one of the best films of the year. Now available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, Under the Skin is an absolutely masterful psychological thriller and is not to be missed.
To say much about the plot of the film would be a massive disservice to the viewer, but I will attempt a short description: An extremely attractive woman spends her evenings cruising around the streets of Scotland looking for men to seduce. But soon she begins a journey of self-discovery that will change her, and expand her understanding of what it means to be human.
I really do not want to give away any details about the plot of the film, so I will leave it at that. But it must be noted that Scarlett Johansson's performance is transformative. This is possibly her strongest and most daring work to date, which is no easy accomplishment considering that about 80% of the film does not contain any dialogue. Johansson is beyond captivating in every frame, and manages to keep us hanging on the edge of our seat with every blink of her eyes. Her blank expressions create a palette on which the projection of human emotions leave the viewer with a sense of alienation and dread. She is truly riveting.
Glazer's script is phenomenal, keeping the audience guessing until the final frame, and his direction is top-notch. While his previous feature length film, Sexy Beast, is much more straight-forward in it's narrative, Under the Skin sees the director bringing the tone and personal flare of his music videos to the big screen. All in all, it is a deeply effective piece of cinema that challenges the boundaries of conventional film making and pushes the artistic envelope conceptually. Under the Skin is a twisted and creepy exploration of what it means to be human, and one that I highly recommend. Now available on Amazon Prime and other VOD outlets. Check it out. Cheers.
- Leo Francis