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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Original Future Sci-Fi Classic
I loved this film, and I think it is destined to be a future cult classic. Scarlett Johansson plays an alien life form who takes on a human body, in the style of Jeff Bridges in Starman. However, unlike the kindly and well intentioned Starman, in this movie the extra-terrestrial has a malevolent purpose. She entices horny single men back to her lair, which is a mundane...
Published 8 months ago by William Mason

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like it but fascinating none the less
Under the Skin was not my thing at all, it was dark, very obscure and there was,quite deliberately, no attempt to explain what is going on or why. What I understood from it is that Scarlett's character was an alien being who as she spent more time disguised as one of us grew to understand and perhaps sympathize with us as a species, as a result going from dominant...
Published 5 months ago by Charles G.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Original Future Sci-Fi Classic, 26 Aug. 2014
By 
William Mason (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Under The Skin [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
I loved this film, and I think it is destined to be a future cult classic. Scarlett Johansson plays an alien life form who takes on a human body, in the style of Jeff Bridges in Starman. However, unlike the kindly and well intentioned Starman, in this movie the extra-terrestrial has a malevolent purpose. She entices horny single men back to her lair, which is a mundane and rundown estate house in the Scottish Highlands. The house, Tardis like, disguises an other worldly dimension, where the alien undresses, leading the men into a strange substance which looks like a cross between oil and mercury. The substance mutates and dissolves the bodies, leaving behind only the skin. We're never told why the men are used in this way, whether it is for the alien to learn about human biology, or for sustenance. One of the victims is a horrifically disfigured virgin male, who looks a bit like the Elephant Man, and the sequence of his seduction and entrapment is mesmerising.
As the alien experiences more of human life and culture, including our food, music, architecture, kindness, and even sex, she starts to let her guard down, and softens her behaviour towards human beings. This, ultimately, leads to her fate, a chilling sequence in a forest. This is a slow moving and beautifully shot sci-fi thriller. Ms Johansson has limited dialogue, she conveys most of her thoughts and feelings through her eyes and body language, and I found her performance spellbinding. She appears naked in a few scenes, but it's never done gratuitously.
There is very little CGI, there is no need for it, the film is highly original and relies far more on ideas than effects. The film score is suitably eerie and memorable. If you like quirky, weird and inventive sci-fi, which doesn't need to hide behind CGI, i.e. movies like The Man Who Fell To Earth (David Bowie), Starman, and Altered States (William Hurt), there is a good chance you'll enjoy this film - The Man Who Fell To Earth (Digitally Restored) [DVD] [1976], John Carpenter's Starman, Altered States [Blu-ray] [1980] [US Import].
If you like fast paced, gung-ho, effects laden sci-fi, i.e. movies like the Transformers and Star Wars franchises, you might find this movie too off the wall to be palatable. I strongly suspect that over the next 10 to 20 years, this film will develop into quite a cult classic, especially if word gets around about how much time Ms Johansson spends disrobed. Jane Fonda shedding her clothes in Barbarella was probably a major factor in that film becoming a celebrated cult classic, and I can see Ms Johannson's willingness to do the same in this movie, possibly having a similar effect on the future status of this film.
So, what next for the talented Ms Johannson? A very long overdue remake of Barbarella, to be directed by Luc Besson or somebody similar, now that would be something to behold.
Another superb sci-fi flick of recent times, which has a similar vibe to this movie, is The Machine - The Machine [Blu-ray] - The Machine [Blu-ray]. The Machine and Under The Skin make for a superb double bill of modern sci-fi with intelligence, and not just ray guns and strange looking aliens.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when you're a stranger, 21 Jun. 2014
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Skin [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
It is not often that you see something genuinely strange, but the atmosphere of this film certainly is that, in a thrilling way. It dares you to go with it open-eyed, to allow it to open a door in the mind that hasn't been pushed open before, using extraordinary visual effects and sounds (but not a flying saucer among them). The images are often very beautiful, not least of which are those of Scarlett Johansson herself, who is an "effect" in the film. There is also quite a lot of the everyday, shown in almost documentary style, and it is the interface between the two that makes it so intriguing and utterly original. It is best not to know too much, but anyone who enjoyed Birth is likely to be very receptive to this, which is almost as good. Jonathan Glazer has once again used a very alluring actress in a scenario that is so full of mystery and strange resonances that you wonder how he can possibly bring it to a conclusion ... The fantastic score is another factor common to both, and a strange uniformity of tone and colour, although here bleak weather in Scotland, whether in Glasgow or the open country, or on the coast, is set against a starkly different dimension, mirroring the greater ambition of the new film (although Birth had more emotional depth). Johansson is amazing in the lead; I did wonder how strange her view really was, though, as I tend to feel quite alienated myself from those around me and regard their reactions with some sense of otherness, rather as she does. I'm not aware of any gloopy interface, but could one be an alien without knowing it, possibly? At all events, the whole alien/human thing seems to be called into question, which is no bad thing ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'ENJOYABLE SCI-FI', 14 July 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
An 'Alien-Being' assumes the human form of a female victim, a temptress to
lure in human prey for harvest.
She combs the streets and highways in 'Scotland' in her search of unsuspecting
males luring them into an out of this World dimension where her victims are
sunk into a substance almost certainly for further attention from her kind.
She'll only approach prospective victims if alone.
She carries out her tasks with great efficiency and without emotion or conscience.
Another 'Being' watches over her, clearing up any loose ends (I assume he's
a being, his presence is never really explained).
Being in and around humans and liking what she see's in a mirror she begins to
see herself in a different light.
The consequences of her confusion in trying to embrace human behaviour can
only really end badly.
Because she has side-stepped her purpose and has failed to be where she is
supposed to be, her 'minder' goes in search for the stray.
An interesting concept which works well in the main, perhaps losing it's way now
and then, not enough to trouble you too much.
'Scarlett Johansson' gives a seductive and mesmerising performance as the 'Alien'
Temptress.
Bonus Features -
* Behind the scenes interviews on -
* Camera - Casting - Editing - Locations - Music - Poster Design - Production Design
- Script - Sound - VFX.
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143 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A future cult classic, 1 April 2014
This review is from: Under The Skin [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Under The Skin

Imagine that you condensed the plot of a novel down to a single sentence.

Now ignore half of that sentence and make a film of the result.

This seems to have part of the ten year creative process in turning Michel Faber’s novel into Jonathan Glazer’s film.

The resulting film is both haunting and beautiful, contrasting the grit and reality of Glasgow with the isolated emptiness of the Scottish countryside and a clinical hyper-stylised ‘alien’ lair.

The lair scenes and the opening sequence, especially, are reminiscent of Kubrick’s interpretation of Arthur C Clarke’s ‘2001’ whilst the overall feeling is similar to David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’, the awkward outsider who struggles to understand this human world.

Whilst much has been made of the use of real people as victims it’s Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the seductress, Laura, hunting down lonely men for unspeakable reasons that will stay with the viewer, her understated beauty and unease perfect for the character of Laura but so different from the novel’s awkward, surgically deformed protagonist Isserley.

Book and film stand apart, and the good news is that experiencing neither would affect the enjoyment of the other so different are the storylines but I can’t help thinking that the film lacked a lot in explanation although it more than made up for this with style.

If anything the book is probably darker than the film condemning everything from big business to factory farming and exploring the idea of class through an alien culture. The film touches on none of these themes and the viewer could easily be left wondering what it was all about.

Undoubtedly a masterpiece of the cinematic art, thought provoking and disturbing, ‘Under The Skin’ won’t trouble any box office charts but it will become a cult favourite.

If you’re intrigued enough by the film reading the book would explain a lot, just don’t expect to recognise too much of the story between it’s pages.
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76 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a captivating film - but a divisive film that is not for everyone's tastes, 19 July 2014
By 
Susman "Sussman" (London Mills IL) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
Possible Spoilers

This is a film that has taken nearly 10 years for Director Jonathan Glazer to bring to the big screen, and had Glazer and his crew guerrilla filming north of the Scottish border. Adapted from Michel Faber's novel of the same name, the film discards virtually all of the book's `landscape' and the irony of commercial farming. The story of Scarlett Johansson's extra-terrestrial entity begins with an enigmatic "birth" sequence from another dimension or other-world. There are faint glimmers of speech hummed through a distorted fog of sound. Then vocalizations repeat and develop and it becomes clear that they're consonants, then syllabic sounds, and finally whole words. The manner in which these enunciations acquiesce into speech is matched by sight of an abstract image of light and a circular shape, which ultimately - in the most intangible way - then reveal a human eye.

The alien is then transported to Scotland's grey, rainy streets of what appears to be Glasgow and it - she - has a minder or a `familiar' for back-up support, he wears made-to-measure leathers and rides a R1 Yamaha motorbike. He acquires for her a dead human girl salvaged from the roadside. Or perhaps this is another expired alien whose shape is being reused? Whatever the case may be, our alien is soon up and running in her white Mercedes Sprint Transit - she then prowls the Highlands Lowlands. There is succinct plainspoken interconnectivity between Johansson and men who think she's just a lost lass from South of the border. She comes over as sultry and tempting, with her innocent disarming smile that could be read as being coquettish. However, the alien has one single minded purpose, to sexually entice wide-eyed males who can't trust to their good luck and are quite right not to do so. A film that at times emulates a style of documentary filmmaking; where it combines improvisation, with the use of the camera to expose truth or highlight subjects concealed behind crude realism.

The only sign that the alien is leading men to be harvested for nourishment (but for who or what we are never told) is in an unnerving sequence that shows the sufferers of her seduction. For me Johansson is nothing short of hypnotic in the role as the alien and plays it so very well. There is so little vocal narrative; there are snatches of isolated dialogue. Yet there is a discernible narrative to follow - we see this through the eyes of the alien and a montage of ominous images. The scenes where her would be victims are taken (and finally processed and dispatched into their bare constituents) are astonishing and chilling. All the buildings she uses, as portals to her lair, are derelict and in decay - and yet her unwitting victims follow her into the black 'inky' void. Then of course is the film's extraordinary score, by Mica Levi, which furnishes our predatory alien with her three-note Siren's call. Here then is a real marriage between Levi's score and celluloid. For me this is a captivating film, but a divisive film, that is not for everyone's tastes as you either love it or hate it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I AM LOOKING FOR THE POST OFFICE, 19 July 2014
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
The basic storyline is a female alien drives a van through Scotland seducing men.

The film opening has a faint muffled voice. It is the alien being learning to speak. What appears to be an alien comes to Scotland and tricks men into coming into her world where they can't walk on water. I wasn't sure if this was real science fiction or something like that Jake Gyllenhaal thing and this was just another metaphor for human relations...which it still could have been. The film changes direction about midway.

Scarlett plays an almost robotic alien, very slow and deliberate in her moves. She doesn't know how to respond to many situations. She asks for directions as if she was reading from a foreign phrase manual. As far as Sci-Fi goes in this genre I think "Phantasm" was more entertaining and "Liquid Sky" more clever.

I think her acting was well done, but as far as entertaining, if left something to be desired. Clearly this is not a film for everyone.

Parental Guidance: F-bomb, sex, attempted rape, full frontal nudity. This is another film that features a naked woman so we can all pretend it's great science fiction. Oh where are my copies of Species, Splice, and Lifeforce. 3 1/2 stars for the perv factor
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49 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Intelligent & Unique, 7 Aug. 2014
By 
Mr. C. Gelderd "aka GelNerd" (Basingstoke, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
This is one of those films where I am struggling to give it a star rating. On one hand it could be a 2 star film, but easily it could be a 4 star film. It may even be a 5 star film. I’ve never experienced a film so haunting, so simple but so surreal and thoughtful in its narrative and cinematography that it becomes engrossing and uncomfortable to watch at the same time.

Scarlett Johansson simply carries the film (much like Tom Hardy did recently in another character driven film ‘Locke’), and you can’t take your eyes off her. She has little dialogue and conveys her emotion via her physical appearance. She is an actress capable of entertaining masses in action blockbusters or dreamy rom-coms but proving her also a grounded understanding of what it means to strip away the excess of Hollywood escapism and portray one of the most complex, realistic-cum-fantastical and haunting characters in her career to date. Her natural beauty is also something you can’t fail to admire, and that plays to her strength as a seductive being out for more sinister goals. She takes us on an emotional journey through a range of emotions and ultimately we can’t fail to finally warm to her, feel compassion for her and understand her.

Saying that, the supporting cast of largely unknown UK faces (bar possibly pro motorcyclist Jeremy McWilliams) add to the look and feel of this film greatly, giving it lots of authenticity. It plays out almost like a fly-on-the-wall documentary on the streets of Scotland, with improvised dialogue between the actors and Johansson for a very natural process of seduction. They are brave actors who take on full frontal nudity in nightmarish situations and they help make Johansson’s character all the more mysterious as the fish out of water in Scotland.

It’s a very beautiful film to watch with long, lingering shots across Scotland using everything from the natural surroundings of the coastlines and dense forests to the heavy rain and thick fog across the Highlands. I hate the term “arty” describing film, but I guess this is what ‘Under The Skin’ really is; an art film. It plays out like a visual interpretation of the human psyche and a dreamy world we live in, fuelled by the mystery surrounding Johansson and McWilliams and their relationship. Extreme close-ups, pulled back sweeping shots, high and low angles all help add to the intrusive, semi-erotic and at times voyeuristic feel to this film. We linger on shots of naked bodies, plump lips, curvaceous hips and smokey eyes, all tinged with a sense of that predatory allure that entices us in as the audience as much as the men adoring Johansson’s semi-naked body before them.

Aided by a sparse but very effective soundtrack that serves as a very un-nerving and tense companion to the uncertainty of the scenes played out, this may be difficult to watch in places where the very things that would make us human are taken away before our very eyes in brutal moments that shows the detachment of Johansson’s character to the rest of humanity. The scene on the beach a third in was one of the most harrowing and uncomfortable sequences I’ve seen on film for a very, very long time and it moved me like nothing else has before in film; it was real, it was upsetting and it was horrific. And there was nothing I could do about it except watch though watery eyes. The finale is also tragic to see, not saying what happens or involving who, but it will leave you feeling helpless and seeking a reassuring conversation or hug from someone close to you to remind yourself you’re not alone out there in that big, wide scary world.

While not to everyone’s taste for what they may expect with a marketed sci-fi film starting The Black Widow herself, full of action, sex, fantastical elements and coarse language, it’s not. It’s totally the opposite. Everything here is tastefully done, steadily paced and lots of elements are lingered on; never rushed. This needs to have your full attention and your mind open to everything and anything. The plot is very simple when you get under the skin (thank you) of the film itself, it is just presented in a very clever, beautiful and haunting way that is totally unique and not comparable to anything else I’ve seen recently.

Writing this, it's a 4 star review I think. It needs another viewing to take it all in again, and it's impossible to compare this to other 4-star reviews I've made, or 5-star reviews that may not be "better" to others. This is a 4-star review of one film alone - 'Under The Skin' with no comparison to anything else out there. It's impossible to compare it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like it but fascinating none the less, 27 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Under The Skin [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Under the Skin was not my thing at all, it was dark, very obscure and there was,quite deliberately, no attempt to explain what is going on or why. What I understood from it is that Scarlett's character was an alien being who as she spent more time disguised as one of us grew to understand and perhaps sympathize with us as a species, as a result going from dominant predator to hunted prey.

There were some genuinely disturbing scenes in the film - the toddler on the beach stands out here. You know that his mother and the film crew are standing by just out of camera shot, but the cold way he is ignored for the scene is scary.

I think what fascinated me was the fact that an A list Hollywood actor had wanted to take part in a film like this which used non-actors and hidden cameras for much of the filming. There is a reason Scarlett was chosen for the part, which is given in the extras on the DVD and I certainly take my hat off to her for her performance. It was disappointing that there was no interview with her there as on this occasion I would have been very interested in hearing her side of it.

Still it gave me some very strange dreams the night after watching it so I have given it 3 stars as it seems to have got under my skin.
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48 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Marmite of Films, 11 April 2014
By 
A. B. Kenwright "tonyk186" (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Skin [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Have rarely seen a film that divided audiences like this one. For me it was irresistable, haunting, beautiful, tender, dark, eerie, sharp and deliciously under-explained.
In the days before videos and DVDs etc. when the only way to see a film again was to go back to the cinema for a second look, I occasionally did that. I haven't done it for 20 years but this film so intrigued me that I actually went back to the cinema two days after first seeing it to watch it all over again. Guess what? It was even better the second time. I'll be buying the DVD because I suspect it might be even better the third time. It's like nothing else you've ever seen but as I touchstone I'd say that if you thought Let The Right On In was a masterpiece, I did, then you'll love this.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, thought provoking and creepy, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
This has to be one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time, but I certainly can see why many people wouldn’t get it. This a film that doesn’t spoon feed you anything, it lets you make up your own mind about what’s going on and the themes and social commentary are only implied. I imagine a lot of people will look passed most of the films subtleties as many aren’t looking for something to engage you in this way. Many people want to ‘switch off’ in movies, this movie needs full attention.
The visuals and sound design are breath taking and I felt this was definitely worth the extra for Blu-ray. Scarlett is insanely good as the lead and her performance drew me in while being totally creeped out. I also applaud her nude scenes, that are well shot and not over sexualised. They don’t feel forced and are actually important for the film.
This isn’t for everyone. If you’re hoping for massive budget alien ships, explosions and convoluted dialog stay clear. This is a slow, unnerving film with little dialog but speaks volumes in its visuals and subtle story elements.
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Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014]
Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014] by Jonathan Glazer (Blu-ray - 2014)
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