Scarlett Johansson Gives A Strong Performance But Can't Save A Sinking Ship: Review Round-Up Of 'Under The Skin'

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Scarlett Johansson stars in the Jonathan Glazer sci-fi that is currently dividing critics at the Venice Film Festival right down the middle; Under the Skin. Amidst reports that parts of the audience walked out during the screening of the Scotland-filmed movie, whilst others just stayed and heckled until the end, the film has also received some of the strongest reviews given in the festival so far, with some praising the film as a modern masterpiece.

Scarlett Johansson Under the Skin premiere
The new film has split critics

The critics are well and truly divided over the film, in which Johansson plays a black wigged alien who feasts on ramblers in the Scottish Highlands and Glasgow city centre; hardly your standard blurb for a film being touted as one of the best in years, but then again it is also being touted as one of the worst films in years too. Robbie Collin of The Telegraph gave a glowing, five-star review of the film, which he described as an "astonishing" feat that will leave audiences "entranced and terrified" at the same time. He goes on to mention that, in a largely dialogue-free setting, Scarlett give a superb and chilling performance that may just be her best to date, as she wanders purposely through Glasgow to harvest human with masterful acting ability. As for Glazer's direction, he seems to pinpoint where people may have disagreed with the film, stating that the director "leaves you to make sense of his images by yourself, or simply to wallow in them when you can’t."

Watch the trailer for Under the Skin

Collins cuts a nearly solitary figure in his glowing review, with others being nowhere near as kind to a film in which Scarlett Johansson supposedly get naked (surely making it an instant five-star classic). From a five-star rating, The Independent gave the film only one star in their review by Kaleem Aftab. Commenting that it seems as though "Glazer simply gave up on trying to find a cohesive story," the review is a far cry from the Telegraph's reception. Johansson's performance is given some praise, but overall the critic reckons that the film is more like a collection of "perfume adverts or music video."

Wilson, Johansson, Glazer
Producer James Wilson (L), Scarlett Johansson (M) and director Jonathan Glazer (R) attend the premiere of the film in Venice

Scott Feinberg of the Hollywood Reporter was equally as negative in his review, although he, like many others, was keen to single out Johansson for her thoroughly convincing performance. Stating in his review that a "not inconsiderable number" of people walked out of the cinema through sheer tedium, he doesn't paint a great picture of a film that is only just held together by Scarlett's "totally commit[ted]" part.

So is it a modern day Citizen Kane? Or is it just really bad? Under the Skin is out on general release once it finds a distributor and you can ask the same question yourself when it comes out.

Scarlett Johansson Venice Film Fest
Scarlett has roundly praised for her performance in the divisive film


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