Review: Under the Skin

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

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

I have read reviews that absolutely rave about this film saying it’s “disturbing”, “haunting”, “poignant”, “beautiful” and “mesmerizing”. Well my dear readers I think these people watched a completely different film from the one I viewed; I found it “creepy, boring, confusing, and pointless”. I guess what this says is…you will either love it or you’ll hate it there is absolutely no middle-ground. You can tell by my 1 star rating where I stand on this one.

Normally I really enjoy ScarJo’s work, I usually find her pretty entertaining no matter what she’s doing, this time though she felt lost, dead and out of her depths to me but I can’t really pin the blame on this on her though; I blame it on the direction. Personally, I think someone decided to get a bit too artsy-fartsy with this film because the only way you as a viewer actually have any clue of what’s going on is if you’ve read the book Under the skin by Michael Faber.

The director had a serious brain-fart in how he approached this film. There is absolutely NO dialogue whatsoever for the first thirteen minutes of the film; just a lot of ScarJo (aka “the female”)  driving around in a van talking to and picking up strange men…and it doesn’t change much from that format throughout the entire film. I swear this had to have been the easiest script to learn in modern history!

For the longest time I thought she was some sort of deranged serial killer…I honestly think if she had been that would have made for a more interesting story, but while I suppose she was in a sense a serial killer (she did kill men) I had no idea why she was killing them and as the movie went on and on and on in much the same way it started I just got more and more confused. I know I had to have been sitting there watching it with an “am I really still watching this?!” expression on my face.

I kept watching it though, why in the world did I keep watching? It was as if I was drawn in thinking “this really can’t be THAT bad. ScarJo wouldn’t be in a movie this horrible…would she?” It was much the same as the morbid fascination rubber-neckers have at the scene of an accident. I held out this tiny ray of hope that somehow something would eventually make sense…..”sigh”, it never did.

So, having endured an hour and forty-eight minutes of my life I can never get back I decided I just simply had to figure out why this book was turned into a film. Obviously the book had to be much much better. Turns out, that’s exactly the case….the book is much, much better and I can see why.

Here I’m going to inject spoilers about the movie, normally I don’t do this but this movie made so little sense it needs some explanation….so SPOILER ALERT!

The book explains to us who ScarJo’s character actually is, an alien called Isserley who has been sent to Earth to harvest humans as food, turns out they’re a delicacy on her planet; Isserley uses her attractive human female form to lure men to where she lives and the men are never seen from again.

So, ok…not a huge spoiler alert, there’s much more to the book but it doesn’t make it’s way into the movie. Characters pop in and out but you as the viewer are clueless as to who they are, or why they are there. She interacts with a male character from time to time who rides around on a motorcycle…but they don’t tell you why. They mention his name but that’s it. I later learned from the book that this is her direct Supervisor, Esswis…who was also directed to take human form and come with her to Earth to well….supervise.

As far as the viewer can tell all ScarJo does is drive and wander aimlessly around Scotland almost never speaking. Occasionally she picks up a man (apparently he must look tasty), takes him back to her home where they both end up stripped and she then slowly walks backwards, he follows her mindlessly until he sinks into some dark abyss where he end up a drowned flattened meat suit.  It’s just creepy and weird.

The ending of the movie is just as strange and really, quite abrupt. The whole ride just felt like one long rubber-neck at a car wreck to me…not really sure there were any survivors.

I really suggest buying the book and reading it as it’s actually pretty interesting but skip the movie completely; you’ll thank me for warning you off of it.

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About Anita Dugan-Moore

This blog gives me the opportunity to talk about the book covers I create for some wonderful authors and share my thoughts on movies and books that I love. Who knows...I may even share some of my own writing on here...or whatever else happens to pop into my mind.
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