27 Jun Under The Skin Review


It Just Might Get Under Your Skin. 

At first glance, Under the Skin appears to be a classic science fiction tale; an alien comes to earth from an unknown planet, inhabits the body of a human, and wreaks havoc. Upon viewing, however, it is clear that director Jonathan Glazer’s latest project is anything but traditional.  Under the Skin is an exploration in light and color, of visuals and sounds, and of sexuality and intimacy. With a captivating performance from Scarlett Johansson at its center, the film paints a picture of these elements that’s simply unforgettable.

Under the Skin is far from the formulaic Hollywood narratives of today. Its lack of plot points and clear motive can be polarizing, and may leave viewers scratching their heads in confusion as the credits roll. There is very little dialogue, a choice made more obvious by the deliberately long takes that pepper the shot sequence. Often times the camera will hold on a wide shot of the landscape or a close up of our protagonist. The uncertainty and uneasiness that this creates feels right at home with the sci-fi genre. And while there are moments that one may wish for more exposition, it’s refreshing to experience this new way of storytelling. The film’s score also plays a strong role in shaping its overall tone. Reminiscent of an old film noir, Hitchcockian even, it heightens the other-worldliness without ever overpowering or leading the visuals.

As Under the Skin’s elusive protagonist, Scarlett Johansson crafts one of her best and most honest performances in recent memory.  She is haunting and sensual, yet it’s a different type of sensuality for her, as she relies just as much on her vulnerability as she does her physical beauty.  Her “seduction” scenes, those in which she leads her would-be bedmates into a pool of mysterious liquid, each time stripping away more and more clothes, showcase her undeniable allure and prove to be quite mesmerizing. She does a lot with very little; her journey from detached outsider to empathetic being is interesting to watch. Unfortunately, despite her attempts at human connection, she is forced with a reality that will never be. It is not surprising that it is a man, more savage than any she’s encountered thus far, that ultimately exposes her for what she is.

This film conjures more questions than answers, and may leave viewers scratching their heads, but that is what makes it so original and intriguing. In addition, it is visually haunting, using imagery never seen before by audiences. If you go into the film with an open mind, it just might get under your skin.

Watch Under The Skin now on FlixFling!

This guest blog post was written by Colleen Shields.