|2014||108 Min||Sci-Fi . Thriller . Science Fiction . Drama|
Jonathan Glazer's atmospheric, visually arresting abstraction stars Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien who prowls the streets of Glasgow in search of prey: unsuspecting men who fall under her spell, only to be consumed by a strange liquid pool.
|Actors:||Paul Brannigan , Kryštof Hádek , Scarlett Johansson , Michael Moreland , Scott Dymond , Jeremy McWilliams , Lynsey Taylor Mackay|
Weird. Brilliant. Stunning. Under the Skin is by far the most memorable movie of the first few months of 2014.
This stark and intensely controlled film is the work of a powerful visual stylist and storyteller, one who looks like he belongs on the short list of directors who have carried the narrative methods of the silent era deep into modern cinema.
A brilliant science fiction movie — more of an "experience" than a traditional story, with plenty to say about gender roles, sexism and the power of lust?
Watching this film feels like a genesis moment — of sci-fi fable, of filmmaking, of performance — with all the ambiguity and excitement that implies.
Very little in Under the Skin is clear at all. Its secrets unspool in mysterious, supple ribbons, but that's part of its allure, and its great beauty.
Throughout, what truly matters to director Jonathan Glazer is articulating through visual and aural enticement the unconscious power of our death drive.
You may not be sure what you've seen, but you've sure seen something. With neither a petticoat nor a wideboy in sight, this is one of the most original and exciting British movies in some time.
It’s an intoxicating marvel, strange and sublime: it combines sci-fi ideas, gloriously unusual special effects and a sharp atmosphere of horror.
Glazer’s astonishing film takes you to a place where the everyday becomes suddenly strange, and fear and seduction become one and the same.
Under the Skin is perhaps best viewed as an icy parable of love, sex and loneliness.
There's something fairly malignant in the way Glazer's strange movie holds attention, against the urge to give up and leave. There is no doubting its boundless artistry or pretension, a dangerous position for any movie in today's love-me pop culture to place itself in. Under the Skin is exactly where it gets.
Under The Skin is rich with menacing atmosphere, so much so that viewers could probably tune out the narrative and still get on the proper wavelength.
Glazer is nothing if not ambitious; the rough edge of naturalism, on the streets, slices into the more controlled and stylized look of science fiction, and the result seems both to drift and to gather to a point of almost painful intensity.
Actors aren’t Navy SEALs, I know, but Johansson was, in fact, brave to take on this role: brave in that it’s a sharp left turn from what audiences expect or even like; brave in that she embraced an artistically bold method of building a movie when most other movie stars would have said no thanks to the idea of chatting up random Scotsmen in a van.
The movie’s eerie, climactic image challenges our conventional notions of human identity and leaves us reflecting on the possibility that every being in the universe is an alien in disguise.
The extraordinary achievement of Under The Skin is that while Laura develops some human qualities, Glazer resists the temptation to turn this alien’s story into the story of what it means to be human.
What makes Under the Skin such a mind-blower has everything to do with Johansson’s chillingly unempathetic turn as the, well, whatever she is, coupled with cinematographer Daniel Landin’s disorienting, hallucinogenic visuals.
A deeply creepy and mysterious noir.
It feels fresh and unpredictable, as quietly strange as the remarkable musical score from first-time feature film composer Mica Levi.
With long, quiet takes in which he simply observes Johansson wordlessly taking in the world around her, Glazer infuses the everyday modern world with a surpassing sense of strangeness and doom.
What’s under the film’s surface is intriguing enough, but it’s the surface itself that holds you in a dark trance. A portrait of alienation filmed from the alien’s point of view — or is it just a woman’s? — the movie’s a cinematic Rubik’s Cube that snaps together surprisingly easily, yet whose larger meanings remain tantalizingly out of reach.
A brave experiment in cinema that richly rewards the demands it makes. The result is an amazement, a film of beauty and shocking gravity.
Virtually all science fiction functions as metaphor, and I took this film to be a metaphor for the act of becoming fully human.
A totally wacky head-trip with midnight movie sensibilities and a daring avant garde spirit, Glazer's movie is ultimately too aimlessly weird to make its trippy narrative fully satisfying, but owes much to Johansson's intense commitment to a strangely erotic and unnerving performance unlike anything she has done before.
Johannson turns out to be perfectly cast, being able to shift from blank alien mode to kittenish seduction without ever letting you see the switch being turned on or off.
Under the Skin is a deliberately oblique piece of work that prizes rhythms and textures above hows and whys.
Under the Skin is, in short, a film that does just that: gets under one's skin, shining a light on what it means to be human -- even if what we end up seeing is something less than comforting.
Yes, Glazer asks a lot of his audience. At times the movie feels like something you've walked in to the middle of, so you're thrown off balance. Yet it's hypnotic — you want to stick around to see what happens, and maybe just to figure out what the hell is going on.
Under the Skin isn’t conventional, thrilling or particularly satisfying in a sci-fi aliens-are-hunting-us sense. But it manages something far more sinister and fascinating. It gets under your skin and imprints on your memory.
It's as existential as a sci-fi/horror film can possibly be. It requires that the viewer slip into a meditative mood and remain there for more than 90 minutes.
At times the film is right on the border between mesmerizing and narcotizing, but it casts an otherworldly spell.
Much of this is fascinating, as far as it goes, but it wouldn't go as far as it does into drama were it not for Ms. Johansson's wonderfully strange performance.
All this is initially fascinating, and then progressively less so. The problem is the usual serial-killer issue – things, no matter how weird and kinky, get repetitive.
Odd and sexy, troubling and touching, frustrating and mesmerising, dull and haunting. A film by Jonathan Glazer.
More pictorially arresting than intellectually coherent.
As a film, Under the Skin is hauntingly freaky and ultimately frustrating. But as a movie star's gamble to be seen as more than just a moneymaking member of the Marvel universe, it's a home run.
Under the Skin can be confused for a movie that hides its meanings, when it's really a movie that hides its meaninglessness.
There’s atmosphere here, but nothing else.
Glazer has always been longer on atmosphere and uncanny moods than on narrative, but the fatal flaw of Under the Skin isn’t that not much happens; it’s that what does happen isn’t all that interesting.
Under the Skin falls in love with its bleak monotony. It is a melodrama with all the thrills surgically excised.
Tedious and pretentious.
I certainly wish Ms. Johansson hadn’t shown up at all. She’s never less than interesting to watch, but Under the Skin is a big waste of her time.
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