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67 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A future cult classic
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...
Published 4 months ago by Steve Cook

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I AM LOOKING FOR THE POST OFFICE
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...
Published 1 month ago by The Movie Guy


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67 of 78 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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6 of 7 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)    (REAL NAME)   
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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3.0 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 500 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 Scarlett Johansson and a bunch of guys get naked in this film. If that is what you want to see, this has got it.
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42 of 52 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
(REAL NAME)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weird Film, 20 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Under The Skin [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
Weird film lacking a lot of the book's detail. I found it frustrating to watch as I expected more. However, I think that Ms Johansson dealt with her difficult role well. Didn't really enjoy the film much but will give it another viewing as maybe it will be better second time around.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johanssen's 'Taxi Driver', 19 July 2014
This review is from: Under The Skin [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Quite often major hollywood actors have a presence that eclipses any character they are asked to play.
Marilyn Monroe could never escape it, although tried with some success in 'Bus Stop. 'Robert De Niro's career defining films were all about a character far more interesting than the actor, films such as 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull'.

Scarlett Johanssen hadn't had her career defining role, a film in which she could transform into something else, completely immersed and unreconisable from the actress Scarlett Johanssen. Not until 'Under the Skin', a film which polarized critics and audiences alike, refusing to conform to the movie making syllabus.

As Scarlett's alien eventually grows into 'her' skin and surroundings, humanity begins to take an effect on 'her' and we watch like a fly as 'her' story unfolds. Never do we see Scarlett Johanssen, the performance is so far removed that it is easy to see 'her' as an alien and not the actress.

What a fanastic piece of cinema. So understated, not concerned with plot (the destroyer of many a film), you have to see it before you die, it's that good.

Why is watching an alien drive a transit van so captivating? Well if that's all you get from it then i suggest you go and watch the next avengers movie, much easier, no brainer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it, it's well worth the effort., 9 Aug 2014
This review is from: Under the Skin (DVD)
This is a hauntingly beautiful film, and is worth watching for the cinematography alone. For the first part of the film, when the protagonist, Laura, is "hunting" her prey, the constant repetition seems unnecessary, but it sets the scene for her disillusionment. I spent that part of the film unsure of what was happening. Even before you find out who (or what) Laura is, the stark contrast in her behaviours, and the alien nature of her reactions is chilling, and makes for compulsive viewing. The film has echoes of "Moon", where very little seems to happen in the beginning, but the twists later on in the film are worth the wait. This could really become a cult classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never has a transit van looked so inviting, 14 Aug 2014
By 
A. Unsworth - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Under The Skin [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
I liked it. Compelling, slow-moving, very real performances, lots of unknowns and questions. Scarlett gives a great performance as the alien who discovers theres more to humanity than just a tasty snack. Not keen on the ending though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wierd, 20 Aug 2014
This review is from: Under the Skin (Blu-ray)
Dull, dark and dreary - and that's just Glasgow where it was partly filmed - the movie wasn't nearly as compelling! Scarlet did her best in this weird production. Very slow and entirely without meaning.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars captivating visuals make it all worthwhile, 8 Aug 2014
By 
Leslie Gardner (london, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Under the Skin (DVD)
this has spoilers because i cannot help it

the visuals are sensational - after a few 'pick ups' we see what's happening although it makes no sense to us - just as it wouldn't if it were really to happen that aliens were here - we'd not understand - i thought her basic humanity, making sure they were solitary men, was a step in the right direction - maybe it got long - driving through grim cities and countryside looking for solitary men (I was strangely also pleased that it was this way around- not the usual female victim) - but the final scene and some of the visuals of the countryside were exceptional. the supporter to cleans up after her is another unexplained mystery - i suppose we need to know who is mediating her experience - none of those questions are salient - it's that final moment when she is herself that counts after attempted rape - yes, scarlett johansson is v good - she can go from staring alienation to friendly chit chat in a breath - it's a small film, but worth watching - utterly a manifestation of the film medium and that's also what i loved about it - no concessions to verbal explanations - why bother, right? well worth seeing
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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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