by Nile Fortner
In the film Under the Skin, Laura, played by Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Don Jon) is an extraterrestrial, who disguises as a woman of Earth. Who drives around Scotland, capturing unsuspecting men. With this type of plot, many of us would assume a great horror film. However, we get a great mixture of an artistic direction, science fiction, fantasy, drama, and themes throughout this film.
I believe, that Under the Skin, will be a film that will be studied, debated, and examined for years to come. For those who have read, seen the trailer, and or movie, you already know that it’s an artsy fartsy kinda film, that film nerds really get into.
This film doesn’t spoon feed you every little detail. Meaning, nothing really feels forced upon you. It lets you (the viewer), come to your own decision, your own thought process, your own beliefs.
In addition, the imagery is amazing. I really like the camera work, and how there were hidden shots. Oh my God, I sound like one of those artsy-fartsy film nerds now. I especially loved the creepy score. Such as, when Laura enters the black void with the dark pool.
Casting Scarlett Johansson as an alien humanoid, was a good choice for this film. honestly, Scarlett doesn’t say much throughout the film. But she sells her performance well through facial expressions. For example, the way she gazes, and roams at men. How she looks at men with her eyes, and how she seduces these unsuspected men with her cherry red lipstick with a shade of crimson.
My only complaint with the film is that some parts do drag on a little longer than needed. I believe that is my only complaint because, at times I was confused. Such as, why is she here? Is she hungry for men? Does she have a sinister plan? Fetish? Why Earth? Is she working with that motorcycle man? Searching for a mate? Alien invasion? etc.
Also, I believe this film was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mainly, because the film is loaded with themes, headscratchers, metaphors, and leaving us wanting more (especially with the ending). Director Jonathan Glazer clearly is a huge fan of Kubrick, and it shows in this film.
Many of us, including myself, love to see character development in movies. I personally love how in this film, Laura looks for victims, but she herself becomes a victim later on in the film. Or when Laura kills a man, and later on she meets a hitchhiker, she feels sympathetic towards him, and tries to comfort him by telling him he has beautiful hands.
Similarly, when Laura looks at human beings doing everyday things, she observes and seems enlightened in a way. In my opinion, the director was trying to demonstrate that every being on this planet is an alien in disguise. I also enjoy the other themes, of how mankind views beauty, and how true beauty is underneath us, it’s… under the skin (that was a bad pun).
So these are my final thoughts on Under the Skin. This is a very interesting film. I believe that not everyone will enjoy this. But if you are an artsy fartsy film nerd, who loves seeing themes on discovering who we are, what it means to be human, films that make you think, and meditate on, Under the Skin is worth checking out.
4 out of 5 Hairpieces!