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.
Continue reading: Under The Skin Review
The world just isn't safe with the likes of Laura interspersed across the human race. An alien transformed to look like a dazzlingly attractive human woman, she is ordered by her own world to travel to Earth to target unsuspecting wanderers and hitchhikers in a twisted scheme set up by her planet to harvest human bodies for meat. But adapting to a new planetary lifestyle has its difficulties and Laura finds herself struggling with the vast day-to-day changes. She soon begins to realise the power in her beautiful appearance, however, and takes to the roads of Scotland to seduce and drug her usually male targets, offer them to her leaders and thus complete her dastardly assignment.
Continue: Under The Skin - UK Trailer
Laura is an alien in human form sent down from her planet to harvest human beings as meat in any way she can. Confused by the strange new world she has landed in and by her own appearance, she walks the streets of Scotland seducing and drugging her targets - which are mainly unsuspecting men - before taking them back to the rich corporation she works for to be reduced to food.
Continue: Under The Skin Trailer
The men involved are air force members from the Czech Republic who've escaped Nazi occupation of their homeland and now fight for the Allied forces in the British patrol. Their leader, Franta Slama (Ondrej Vetchý), amiably directs his troops in a casual, European manner. You sense he'd much rather be their friend than superior, and his closest relationship forms with up-and-coming pilot Karel (Krystof Hádek). Their friendship, unfortunately, isn't long for this world.
Continue reading: Dark Blue World Review
Parallel themes of honor, freedom and love run side-by-side through the World War II air war-and-amour melodrama "Dark Blue World." But the picture's stale and flimsy romance sends this otherwise stunning and profound combat story into an unrecoverable tailspin.
A fictionalized account of heroic Czechoslovakian pilots who escaped the invading Nazis and fled to England to join the Royal Air Force, the film is seen through the eyes of one such pilot who returned home after the war only to be imprisoned under a dictate from the USSR. The post-war Czech puppet government feared he and other freedom fighters might rise up against the iron fist of communism.
Part of the plot takes place in a prison hospital in 1950, where weary war hero Slama (Ondrej Vetchy) has been taken after collapsing from exhaustion while working in the stockade's factory. Here he recounts his war days to a sympathetic doctor, a former SS agent burdened with guilt about his role in Nazi atrocities.
Continue reading: Dark Blue World Review