Movie #50 Under the Skin

A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

 

First off, I am going to admit that I couldn’t quite think of an adequate way to summarize the plot of this film so I straight lifted it from its IMDb page. Every time I tried to capture what this movie covers in a simple sentence nothing seemed to quite come close, and even the above summary hardly scratches the surface.

 

I came into “Under the Skin” not knowing very much about it, all I knew was that it was about an alien that lures men to an untimely end. This being the only thing I knew I expected something similar to the cult classic “Species”. Instead what I got was an entirely different experience.

 

This film unnerves me like not a lot of movies have been able to do in the past. It’s use of sound and at many times use of the lack of sound is incredible. When the film started it was silent for so long I actually fast forwarded a bit to make sure the sound on my computer was working. Many scenes are nearly as dead silent as the intro, others almost deafeningly loud. The switch back and forth between these two extremes add to eerie feeling that constantly builds throughout the first half of the film. While on the topic of sound, it should be mentioned that their is so little actual dialogue that I think you could almost just as easily cut it out entirely and the film would still be just as powerful. Taking full advantage of the visual medium the story is not told through exposition but instead through what you see, the images only being heightened by the masterful sound design.

 

Scarlett Johansson is a second force that ties the entire feel of this movie together. With what cant be more than maybe twenty lines she gets across exactly what her character is experiencing in every scene, whether that be primal hunting instinct, confusion, fear or even pity. Having really only seen her act in films like the Avengers before, this movie cements in my mind that not only can she play in semi-mindless but still fun action movies but deeply cerebral movies that beg to be examined further.

 

I can only suggest that you go watch this movie as soon as you can if you haven’t already. Just be aware of what you are getting into. The film can appear to be moving slowly at times when in reality they are telling you things about Scarlett’s unnamed character or the plot without you even realizing it. While I didn’t get what I expected in the slightest from “Under the Skin” I got something much more. 10/10

Available on Amazon Prime streaming