Balloons. Surfaces. A profound study of our society. (by eivinas-butkus)
I have to admit that I did not see the first minutes of the film. Neither have I read the book therefore I will write about this film as if it was a piece of art on its own, which it is.Under the Skin is a new picture from Jonathan Glazer, who has also directed Birth with Nicole Kidman and some music videos for bands like Radiohead. The main character, alien Laura, is played by the famous actress Scarlett Johansson.Firstly, there is no obvious narrative in this film, because it does not have a big significance or importance here. On the most basic level it is a story of an alien imposing a <more>
woman and seducing men from all over Scotland in order to drain their flesh. This is the most simple summary of the movie. On deeper layers it is a serious study of our society. The film's main focus is on the inside and outside of things, the philosophy of form and material. Johansson's character is struggling in this society. She is always portrayed as going against the stream, she is lost in the sea of rushing people who do not want to get deeper into things, because they know they could be hurt. This is represented in a very subtle visual way. For instance, roses look nice in the film, but they have spikes which make rose seller's hands bleed. A piece of cake seems delicious, but the taste of it is disgusting. It is always the fight between the surface and depth in this film, the first impression and further investigation. I believe it is a very important theme for our society where people are afraid of making commitments or engagements, where they seek for quick pleasures, even though they need true and honest love. The film is very strong visually and stylistically. In order for the reader to get a glimpse of what it is, I will say that it is sort of a combination of Kubrick, Lynch and von Trier.Kubrick - for using clever cinematic language, for all the subliminal messages that are there like a sign on a building saying "Open 24" which is pretty ironic as nobody in the film is truly open. The director deliberately plays with this open and closed concept a lot. The music is somewhat similar to Eyes Wide Shut's too and I think it is used to the fullest in Under the Skin as a form of expression. One can also feel the influence of 2001: A Space Odyssey with all those shots of abstract liquids and close-ups of a human eye.Lynch - for the dreamy, surreal sequences and the guy with the ugly face. I see it as a direct reference to his film The Elephant Man where he also talks about the inner beauty of a human being.Von Trier - for the sea scene Breaking the Waves , for the foggy scenes in the woods Antichrist . Like it usually happens with von Trier's work, someone might blame this film of cheap shock value. I do not think that is the case. The film is being a little provocative, indeed, but at the same time all those provocations are reasoned by the message the director wants to convey.So one can easily feel some influence from other directors, maybe some references, but I should say that this film does not lack originality at all. The directing decisions and the choice of music are as strong as the 2.5 minute close-up of Nicole Kidman's face in Birth. If you have seen that scene, you know what you are dealing with here.Even though, in my opinion, the images are very meaningful and extremely powerful, Under the Skin has received a lot of contrasting responses. Personally, I think the film is a masterpiece and it is worth the Golden Lion, but there are people who actually hated it and booed at it after having seen it. I cannot really understand why they did that, but I think it is good when a piece of art inflicts emotions and receives such different responses. It means that it is not mediocre and that it will cause discussions, maybe some self reflection which is always a good thing. The film suggests that I should get more into details, analyse things carefully from beginning to end, but I will not, just because I want other people to see it first and make their own conclusions. But obviously Under the Skin demands a bigger analysis than this one. I will just say that I was blown away by what I saw on the screen and by what I heard from the speakers. I hope I will get to see it again on the big screen. It has so much power and it is questioning the most important, essential things about our existence - our values as human beings. Where are we going, where are we rushing? Maybe we need to stop and look at the beauty around us? Maybe we should stop being superficial about others? Or maybe we are empty like balloons ourselves? For me it is definitely the best film from the 70th Venice Film Festival and one of the best films I have seen in my life.
Brilliant, Fresh & Stimulating in every sense... (by Lisbeth_S)
Whenever you have a groundbreaking film that redefines Form, you are going to have some that either love it or hate it. Having said that, as I get older I more often find reading the user comments on IMDb fills me with despair for the species. For anybody to dismiss Under The Skin as "boring" they must have no interest in human consciousness, science, technology, philosophy, history or the art of film-making. Finally I understand why most Hollywood productions are so shallow and vacuous - they understand their audience."Under The Skin" is unique among films in content and <more>
scope. The cinematography is out-of-this-world, breathtaking, and the musical score is sublime. I rarely use the word "masterpiece" to describe a movie. But Jonathan Glazer's "Under The Skin" is art in the highest sense, like Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", or Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night".The film requires you to watch in a different way than you normally watch films. It requires you to experience strange and beautiful images without feeling guilty that there is no complex plot or detailed characterization. Don't get me wrong, plots and characters are good, but they're not the be-all and end-all of everything. There are different KINDS of film, and to enjoy 'Under The Sin' you must tune your brain to a different wavelength and succumb to the pleasure of beauty, PURE beauty, 'the vast unknown' and an Alien perspective, unfettered by the banal conventions of everyday films."Under The Skin" is a absolutely unique movie experience. Those who miss out on it do so at the detriment of their own intellectual and imaginative capacities.
Stunning! One the most original films I have ever seen. Every frame was beautiful (by pwhawkins1963)
It is a perfectly paced surreal piece of cinema. its like nothing I have seen before. Stills from movie will shown in galleries for years to come.The film is not for everyone I must admit. But don't be discouraged by dim witted reviews. The plot is not explained by the characters at every free moment and requires you think and use your imagination to fill in the blanks, which I found so refreshing. I urge you go check this film out first chance you. It's great to original film and original film makers like Glazer pushing the boundaries of film in ways other vfx. The only way people <more>
like Glazer will get to carry on making films if everyone gets out and supports these kinds of films. Or we just end up transformers 4 ,5 and 6.
Jonathon Glazer continues his ascent with another fabulous movie that will entirely divide its audience (by markgorman)
You have never seen a movie even remotely like this.It's been a long time coming. Ten years in development, to be precise, and I've followed the saga throughout.My interest was based on my love of the source novel by Michel Faber which is a modern classic.Clearly the 10 year development period demonstrated the difficulty with which the novel would translate to the screen but, in my opinion, it was worth the effort, and the wait.When I heard that it was in Jonathon Glazer's hands Birth and Sexy Beast I was encouraged, and when I found out that Scarlett Johansen was to play the <more>
central character Isserley unnamed in the movie but credited as Laura for some reason my heart skipped a beat.I was not disappointed, but let's make no mistake, this is a Marmite movie. My wife was bored to tears. And I can see why one IMDb reviewer headlines his review "Tedious. Thoughtless. Empty. A failure in all ways." But I disagree entirely. It's fair to say that the pace is laconic, but it's a thing of beauty and a movie packed full of ideas, unique special effects and greatness.If you haven't read the novel you might be forgiven for asking what the hell is going on in this story and, yes, there are elements of it that are fully explored. The long section of the movie where Isserley combs the streets of Glasgow, looking for her victims, with the help of hidden cameras bringing a documentary feel to the whole proceeding, is long and a little repetitive. But it's necessary to show the exhaustion of her task and her eventual disintegration. What's more, it does not paint the city in an entirely positive light. To that end Creative Scotland should be commended for supporting it. It's a movie packed with visual metaphor. There are some moments of horror but they are far from gratuitous and all completely emotionless which is to be expected given that Isserley is an alien, devoid of emotion, sent to earth to farm unattached males for her home planet not that you'd work that out .From the opening sequence in which Isserley's eyes are created, to replicate humans', the imagery is breathtakingly disconcerting. It's underpinned by an outstanding soundtrack by Mica Levi.Johansonn is magnificent. Isn't she always? She is brave to take on a role this opinion dividing, and she manages to exude a total lack of emotion throughout in such a way that, unbelievably, you kind of sympathise with her role as human culler.Glazer is magnificent. But he always is. Birth is a much underrated movie and anyone who saw his debut, Sexy Beast, cannot fail to love the guy.This is a great movie. Rammed to the rafters with original thought. It's just a great pity so many of you will dislike it so much.
I don't usually write reviews, this is more a reply to the negative comments - because I'm a contentious little man. The plot has been criticised as non-existent and this simply isn't the case...All you need to know is there's some kind of experiment going on, could be a prelude to an invasion, but it doesn't matter - there's plenty of research that has been done that isn't condoned or known by the whole of society and well is the Alien society homogeneous and united in cause? Hmmmm..see it would take an eon to get into all this detail about the organising <more>
principles of another world and the plot simply doesn't need it, neither do you: she's doing a job and leading a life that she becomes deeply conflicted about and her desire for change drives the plot within the crucible the poor Alien finds itself. Enjoy the wonderful soundtrack, sublime camera work, the eeriness and Scarlet's stunning performance all actors were great and all the nuances and themes. A film is the sum of its scenes and this one has some excellent, excellent scenes. The visuals alone are to die for. The pace? The film I felt was excellently paced, with one small judder at the cake part, but that's entirely minimal and I probably imagined it.Scots have criticised the portrayal of Scots - it's not a tourist commercial though is it... and isolation on which she preys is an easy bed fellow of poverty and other difficulties. It just works. Please see this excellent film, there is so much going on and it is wonderfully dark and desolate.
I believe Under the Skin to be one of the best Science Fiction films I've seen- and I've seen quite a few. Looking at our world though the eyes of an alien is an unsettling, moving and ultimately deeply philosophical experience, ending on an almost Graham Greenesque note. The lack of sentimentality or anthropomorphism in particular gives the film an immediate, almost documentary feel which actually draws you closer to Scarlett Johansson's businesslike seductress. However, this is not in any way a Hollywood production. If you like big, expensive sets, posing movie stars, and <more>
predictable, cosy entertainment, this film is not for you. But if you appreciate directors like David Lynch, writers like Philip K. Dick and actors actually acting, I strongly suggest you give Under the Skin a go.
Absolutely stunning! Too shocking and uncomfortable for some audience members. (by TheMovieVlog)
Under The Skin represents a few things in my opinion but most importantly it represents a quality that has been missing from Cinema for quite some time. It marks a return of the eerie horror/Uncomfortable thriller for want of a better description , something I thought we'd seen the last of after the passing of Kubrick back in the late 90's. It's 'Bodysnatchers', it's 'The Man Who Fell To Earth', it's 'Don't Look Now', it's Kubrick, Roeg and Tarkovsky, it's a bit Wells, Lovecraft and John W. Campbell and....so much more. Enough <more>
comparisons though, this is Jonathan Glazer, a very capable and talented director who has made some of the best films many of them music videos in the last 20 years. This film is Glazerian. Or should that be Glazeresque? You choose, the man is a genre. This is independent film making at its finest. Every frame is beautiful, the performances are perfect, Scarlett Johansson was a great choice of lead and it was nice to see Adam Pearson proving himself as more than just a Channel 4 freakshow stooge, he is one of the best parts of the film. The music is a huge part of this film and should get just as high a billing as the actors, Mica Levi has produced a truly awe-inspiring soundtrack that will be remembered with the greats. Under The Skin will prove misunderstood on release but will gain following in the years after, I honestly expect to be finding merchandise in all movie memorabilia shops alongside your Pulp Fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rocky posters very soon. This is a future classic, cult favorite and probably my favorite film of the last 10 years. I'm not sure I could be any more impressed, this is why I love Cinema!
I went into this movie without knowing much about the movie or the book it's based on. It turned out to be quite different to what I had expected. It wasn't a horror or sci-fi movie in the traditional sense. Basically this movie stars Scarlett Johansson as a female alien hunting male humans in Scotland.Quite a bit of the first half of the movie shows her driving in a white van luring victims. Some might find all of it a bit repetitive, but there are scenes that might shock some. Most of her victims in this half are the men who want her just for her looks. Later she sees the better <more>
side of humans and starts to appear less alien. As the movie ends, you'll probably be more scared by the humans rather than a murdering alien. As I said, not a horror or sci-fi movie in the traditional sense. This seems to be movie in which the star is not the murdering alien, but human behaviour. Which might be one reason for polarising reviews. Best not to go in expecting a traditional horror movie. Also found the cinematography and music to be awesome. Although this is not my type of movie, I still enjoyed it, but it may not be for everyone .
With its art house feel, this film delivers something very unconventional and intensely strange. If you expect action and gory horror, you will certainly be disappointed. But maybe you will end up hypnotised by the eerie world Scarlett Johansson traverses. The gritty, bleak environment feels like a mixture of grim reality and shadowy nightmare. At times it feels like a surreal dream you want to wake up from, but one that is so compulsive, you can't resist continuing.Scarlett Johansson is captivating and her English accent spot on. There are many sights, sounds, and characters that go <more>
together to create the overall nightmarish dreamscape experience. The direction, creative flair and overall design, make this film very different from the norm.I came away feeling very affected by the intense experience this film delivers. I will watch it again at some point, but only when my mind is ready, because it really took me to a dark, disturbing place.