Movie Review: Under the Skin is Underwhelming

Under the Skin, directed by Jonathan Glazer, starring Scarlett Johansson and written by Walter Campbell is the kind of movie you want to like, but can’t for many reasons.

The film opens with a highly abstract Kubrick-eque series of images that let the viewer know something is askew with reality from the start. It’s a kind of 2001 A Space Odyssey meets Aeon Flux meets I don’t know what.

Anyway, pretty soon we get to see Scarlett Johansson naked, while she undresses a corpse of a girl. Ms. J gets dressed in her clothes (hey, they fit!) What a way to go shopping…

Oh yeah, incidentally the whole film is shot in Scotland.

SPOILER ALERT… (don’t read beyond here if you don’t want spoilers)

Then her character (who has no name throughout the film) starts driving around in a van (not down by the river) looking to pick up guys. You think she is maybe trying to prostitute herself, but quickly realize she’s actually looking to seduce men into getting into her van so she can drag them off to a kill house.

All of the “killing” scenes are wierdly abstract. It shows her getting undressed, and them getting undressed. Yes, there are several scenes of full frontal male nudity and I will add the gentlemen in question are in various states of arousal which is, to say the least, not what you see in Hollywood.

In any case, the guys get nekked and then they walk toward her on this glassy black surface. Eventually they sink into the floor and disappear.

Kinda wierd, no?


Okay, well she does that a few times… and by the time it happens for the third time it’s really boring. The pacing of this movie is SLOOOOOOOOOW.

The couple sitting in front of me got up and left before the third guy “died,” and even I was sitting there thinking, when do we get to see the plot unfold?

Answer … the plot unfolds about 2 minutes before the end of this two hour debacle.

Rather than torture you the way the movie tortured me, I’ll cut to the chase. Mind you, this is literally the last 2-3 minutes of this film:

The character is an alien being from another planet. I guess the alien was seducing the guys to feed on them, maybe. (Who cares?)

In the very last scene the alien peels off Scarlett Johansson’s body and underneath is a shiny black skinned bald creature – that still somehow has Scarlett Johansson’s face. Then the alien gets doused in gasoline, is set on fire, runs into the woods, falls down, dies and burns up.

The last shot of the film is the black smoke from the body rising up into the sky. Ooooh, very moody.

And freaking annoying as hell.

Do not bother to see this film unless you are some guy who wants to see Scarlett Johansson naked, then in that case you can contribute to the paltry $1.1M box office this film is pulling in. Good luck with that…

7 Responses

  1. Thanks for the warning. I’ll skip it 🙂

  2. It sounds like the director has issues, LOL.

    • Well, I do not agree with so many of the choices this director made… the pacing, the length of the film, and aspects of the plot (or lack of them).

      That said, Jonathan Glazer directed Sexy Beast and that was quite brilliant. Of course having Ben Kingsley in that role doesn’t hurt… but it was a great project.

      And frankly, given the nature of the movie, Scarlett Johansson did a very good job carrying this turkey all the way through. It was a big risk for her, especially since she has to appear fully nude, so she must have believed in – at least – the original concept that was described to her. :-}

  3. Wait, this part has totally changed my thinking about seeing the movie: “…especially since she has to appear fully nude…”

    Since the “she” is Scarlett Johanson, I can’t emphasize enough how material this information is.

    • Well, she does take it “all” off. You get to see her whole body, front and back, in a mirror.

      Since she is an alien, she needs to fully examine her body because she was trying to have “sexy time” with a guy, but it uh, didn’t work because she’s missing an essential um… part.

  4. Okay, now I’m on the fence. Missing a critical part is really a bummer. Now I’m sad. Very, very sad.

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