After discussing Martha Marcy May Marlene and Elizabeth Olsen, I thought this could be a good idea for a series of reviews. At the very least it means I don’t have to actually think of any new ideas for a while. Anyway…
UNDER THE SKIN is a small independent film set in Scotland, starring Scarlett Johansson as a seductive/predatory alien who gives a new (not necessarily better) meaning to the phrase, ‘Glasgow Kiss’. Despite this strange set up this is a great film and deserves far more credit and publicity than it has received.
So for anyone who hasn’t seen/heard of it. Here is the trailer!
Granted this does not look like your typical alien/sci-fi fare. She is not green. She has no spaceship. She looks like a human. If that’s not your bag then you have my blessings to return to Guardians Of The Galaxy/ Star Wars/ ET. Basically anything that isn’t Green Lantern. It is an abomination. It’s unnatural. It makes me uncomfortable and it is just not right! Same goes for Battleships, a film about aliens that is based on a board game which has nothing to do with aliens. Oh and Jar-Jar Binx too. You can probably throw the Independence Day sequel into this pile as well when it comes out.
This film centres around the mysterious, alluring and unsettling alien (Scarlett Johansson) who preys upon the men of Scotland. I wont go into plot details much here because the magic of this film is never really knowing where it is all headed and being able to draw your own conclusions. I say this mainly because I’ve been unable to make any of significance and this is my ‘Get out of jail free card”. Allowing me to divert your attention away from the fact that I know nothing while sounding much more intelligent and qualified than I have any right to do.
Johansson’s performance is exceptional. She exudes a seductive charm whilst also being cold, sinister and distant. As a straight man, I find this confusing. A feeling I’m sure men of Scotland will share with after seeing this film. She also has a pretty good English accent. Something of a rare commodity these days. For a comparison here is Russel Crowe in Robin Hood.
But at least he tried unlike a certain someone in the Eagle! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLYO2I5kgw
Her character makes you question what it means to be human, especially as she develops a childlike inquisitive nature throughout the film. Is it possible for her to make her new home here on Earth? Or will she remain drifting and lost in the nightclubs of Scotland.
Shots of misty, green countryside to gritty, foreboding town centres capture the predatory feel of the main character. There are some truly original visual moments which deliver something I’d never seen in cinema before. A feat that becomes harder and harder with each passing movie release. The director did an excellent job. I’m sure he’ll be relieved to hear I approve.
If I were to have one gripe. It would be that the supporting character of ”The Biker” gets practically no explanation. I realise this helps to keep everything mystifying and magical and leave you asking for more. But here’s the thing this is an adaptation of a Michael Faber book from 2000. The book gives some more details about this character and helps create a fuller understanding of the situation as a whole.
Well, apparently anyway. I’ve not read it. I’m mean who owns books anymore? Before you judge me though. Have you read it?.. Didn’t think so.
I think this could have been a helpful addition, but as usual I am probably wrong.
This film is ”arty” and the polar opposite of a Hollywood blockbuster. This can be a turn off for some; it isn’t an easy watch and wants you to ask questions. The dialogue is sparse. The answers are not all nicely laid out and explained with a convenient Morgan Freeman voice-over. It builds slowly and with lots of intensity but doesn’t rush anything. It is intriguing, original and, as we enter the usual summer movie madness of big-budget action, franchise re-quels and cheesy rom-coms, it could be just the alternative you are looking for.
”I AM GROOT”…. ‘E.T. PHONE. HOME,”….” IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM.” SOD IT THAT’LL DO.
P.S ALSO WHERE THE HELL IS THE BLACK WIDOW MOVIE AT MARVEL? DONT JUST TRY AND DISTRACT ME WITH SPIDERMAN, BLACK PANTHER AND VISION. WE WANT ANSWERS!
P.P.S HAVE A LOOK AT SNL’S BLACK WIDOW AGE OF ME SPOOF