Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Movie Review - Under the Skin

Under the Skin (2014)
Starring Scarlett Johannson
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
***This film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime***

It would be perfectly understandable if you were to watch Under the Skin and hate it.  Had I watched the Jonathan Glazer film on another day in another mood, I could totally see myself despising it.  However, perhaps I lucked out as I found this weird science fiction piece oddly intriguing and visually appealing.

There's no denying that this is a unique one.  Scarlett Johannson is an unnamed woman who seduces lonely, isolated men in Scotland, luring them to a location at which strange and tragic things happen.  However, our lead character soon begins to feel doubt about her actions, causing her to discover emotions in herself that she never knew existed.

Under the Skin is a difficult film to talk about without going spoiler-crazy, so I'll leave the summary of the flick as simplistic as it seems above.  While not much is spoken in Under the Skin -- in fact, the film's final act contains perhaps as few lines of dialog we've seen since The Artist -- much is being said through images.  Director and co-screenwriter Jonathan Glazer has crafted a beautiful film to look at with mystical special effects standing in stark contrast to the griminess of some of the seedier streets of Scotland.

Ms. Johannson is front and center through it all and she certainly carries the piece.  Admittedly, however, it took me a little bit of time to fully realize all that her role and character truly is.  While I was watching, I found her nonchalantness to be a bit off-putting, but in retrospect, her alienated and subdued feelings and reactions are quite fitting for her nameless character.

Under the Skin is short, but there are moments where its somewhat repetitive nature wears a bit thin.  The bleakness of some of the middle act causes the film to drag more than it should, but it's a thought-provoking film that likely has metaphors out the wazoo should I give it another go -- which I might in due time seeing as how I appreciated what it brings to the table.

The RyMickey Rating:  B


  1. I watched this a while ago now at this point (what a weird mix of "time" words), but I remember feeling/thinking a lot about gender stuff and over-arching metaphors about what it is to be a woman/object in different societies. Hopefully will be able to see again soon. What is all this Amazon Prime streaming stuff? I get so excited when I see the asterisks, and then they aren't for Netflix. They keep tricking me.

  2. Yeah...my brother has Amazon Prime so I'm taking advantage of it (started with Downton Abbey and then onto movies). There's not all that much on there -- I've maybe got five more 2014 movies from there and a bunch more from Netflix to tackle.

    I took away from it something or other about identity -- who we are/who society wants us to be/how we shape ourselves to be liked by others in society -- which sort of blends with the gender/objectifying thing. (Perhaps being a guy, I don't immediately zero in on gender stuff, though, I don't know.)