Saturday, 25 April 2015

Under the Skin

Lowdown: An alien posing as an attractive woman roams about, seducing the men of Scotland.
Review:
It’s not just me; the science fiction genre is the genre with the greatest capacity to excite us. Think Star Wars, think Avatar, think Terminator 2, think Blade Runner. A science fiction movie with artistic credentials? Wow, just I have to watch it. I had to watch Under the Skin.
Under the Skin is one of those movies that leaves most of the processing to its viewer. There is no narration and no guidance, just a music soundtrack to guide the audience through eccentric and often surrealistic visions. What is clear, though, is that we are watching an alien disguising itself as a human female (Scarlett Johansson). She (?) then gets herself a van and drives around Scotland, seducing local men as she goes about her way. These interactions appear to be spontaneous, and indeed I recall being told that many of those interactions Johansson went through happen to be real life chats with Scottish people completely unaware of them having a chat with a major Hollywood star going about her business. I will qualify that celebration of spontaneity by saying that these scenes are limited; clearly, the majority of what we see has been scripted.
And what we see is probably there to shed a light on human society as viewed by an outsider. The fact Under the Skin makes it clear there is something sinister about supports this notion.
Personally, I am of the opinion that, in the cause of its art, Under the Skin errs way too far into the realm of the fart. If you’re into David Lynch style of cryptic ambiguity then you’ll probably like Under the Skin and praise it as one of the best things ever; me, I consider its main achievement to be the undressing of  Scarlett Johansson. Which is to say, Under the Skin does not achieve anything worth noting.
Overall: Under the Skin is a triumph of style over substance. 2 out of 5 eccentric crabs.

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