Under the Skin Review: Everything’s On the Surface

Photo Credit:http://www.scifinow.co.uk/news/under-the-skin-is-unfamiliar-foreboding-and-seductive/

The first 20 minutes or so, I thought I was watching the next sci-fi masterpiece. I thought Jonathan Glazer had potential to become the next Stanley Kubrick. I thought that this movie could be a real game-changer. I thought wrong.

There is a plethora of beautiful images in Under the Skin, with cinematographer Daniel Landin deserving all of the box office receipts for this film. But these startling and innovative shots aren’t enough to pull a story out of this thing.

Scarlett Johansson plays an alien living in human skin. For an unspecified reason, she continually seduces men and traps them in a dark, unearthly liquid. The production values are truly unsettling as we build to the sort-of reveal of what the aliens are doing with the men.

But there’s no connection to Johansson’s nameless character. We understand her pity, but then it’s proven wrong to us why she should have it. This is a movie about the cruelty of man. The men in this film are portrayed as animals, acting only on their pleasure principal. Whether it’s their desire for sex or their fear of the unknown, Under the Skin has a very shallow view of the male sex.

Had there been any emotional connection to the lead alien, maybe the film could have been a thought provoking look at our species. Instead, we get a lot of Johansson looking spacey. A movie this hollow, which started out looking like the next 2001: A Space Odyssey, completely fails to show anything of interest or develop the audience’s intended reaction in a cohesive manner.

It is a pretentiously told and emotionally empty film, making Under the Skin the first great arthouse failure of 2014. Grade: D

By Matt Dougherty

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