Under the Skin

"Extraordinary"

Under the Skin Review


Scarlett Johansson goes off the radar in this low-budget Scottish thriller, which is far more offbeat than anything she's ever done before. Her fans are likely to be perplexed by the film's lack of any meaningful dialog, its ambiguous plot and relentlessly artful imagery. But inventive filmmaker Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) has created one of the most atmospheric sci-fi horror movies in recent memory.

Just outside Glasgow, an alien creature assumes the shape of a woman (Johansson) and starts prowling the city streets in search of men. With disarming flirtation, she sparks the sexual appetites of a series of guys, luring them into her inky lair, where they're trapped like bugs in a roach motel. But some unexpected events get her thinking about human sexuality, so she decides to explore it herself. With the next guy, she has a go at romance, and then later she puts herself into a startlingly vulnerable situation. But by going off the grid, she alerts her alien cohorts that something isn't quite right.

By refusing to use standard storytelling or filmmaking techniques, Glazer has made a movie that feels like it comes from outer space. But while we never get a grip on any of the characters, we can easily identify with the yearning emotions they're feeling. Which draws us in on a deeper level than we expect. In this respect, Johansson's performance is unusually subdued. Setting her glamorous Hollywood image aside, she becomes a lost soul who almost looks frumpy (she's still gorgeous enough to get any man she wants), and her search for meaning in human sexuality is fascinating.

Essentially a gritty alien-invasion thriller, this film also catches our interest as an exploration of loneliness and lust. It's so beautifully shot and edited that we feel like we may have dreamed watching it, especially as Glazer infuses everything with surrealism and ambiguity. This may work best for more adventurous moviegoers, but Johansson's daring performance helps the film worm its way into our subconscious, taking us on an odyssey we're unlikely to forget.

Watch 'Under The Skin' Trailer



Under the Skin

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th March 2014

Box Office Worldwide: $2.6M

Production compaines: Scottish Screen, UK Film Council, FilmNation Entertainment, Nick Wechsler Productions, Creative Scotland, British Film Institute, Film4, Silver Reel, JW Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , James Wilson

Starring: as Laura, as The Swimmer, Paul Brannigan as Andrew, Michael Moreland as The Quiet Man, Scott Dymond as The Nervous Man, Jeremy McWilliams as The Bad Man

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