Under the Skin (2014) – Film Review

Under the SkinUnder the Skin

Starring Scarlett Johansson

Directed by Jonathan Glazer, based on the novel ‘Under the Skin’ by Michel Faber

IMDB Rating: 6.3

A very weird and twistingly pretty film that leaves you tilting your head in a mixture of wonder and confusion.

Scarlett Johansson plays an alien taken human form, who travels around Scotland in a van looking to seduce and capture lonely men. As time goes by it starts to discover more about itself and the humans it’s sent here to plunder.

This film is strange – that’s the only way of putting it. I’m not sure what I was expecting going into this, but I never expected it to be as quiet as it is, in every sense of the word. There is a score but it is used very sparsely, leaving many scenes completely silent. The dialogue is near to non-existent, and many of the shots in the film are still shots with not much camera movement. In terms of the story, it is an interesting idea – ‘seeing ourselves through alien eyes’ as the film company has said in many promotional pieces I’ve seen. On the flip-side however, it is also very simple in a weird way – as shown by my two sentence description above.

Usually I have more acting performances to look at, but this film only has Johansson. She did a good job in the large part of looking alien – not understanding situations and putting on a ‘duhh’ style face, for lack of a better word. As a Brit I was also pretty impressed by her British accent! Sure, there probably wasn’t much to do for her as most of the time she had the same look on her face, and her dialogue was not exactly very much – however she did a good job playing an extra-terrestrial life form, and any criticism would feel harsh.

Due to the lack of noise, this film had to be visually appeasing to have any credibility. Thankfully, Jonathan Glazer has made Under the Skin very artistically. You can see that Glazer has taken care with each shot, making sure there’s enough in each one to keep interest. You can also see he has tried to make the film feel very real with his shots, something again I think he has done well.

I can see why critics like this film, it’s very pretty and it has tried to do something different. Part of me enjoyed that, but a bigger part of me was waiting for something to happen – maybe a jump scare or anything, just to liven it up a little bit. Even the way she captured her victims was boring! Very artistic, an ingenious idea and way of doing a film, but not something that is going to entertain.

Seen Under the Skin? Tell us what you thought!

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2 responses to “Under the Skin (2014) – Film Review

  1. Pingback: Ex Machina (2015) – Film Review | The Culture Cove·

  2. Pingback: Capote (2005) – Film Review | The Culture Cove·

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