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Under the Skin (2013) 2014

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Under the Skin is the story of an alien in human form. Part road movie, part science fiction, part real, it's a film about seeing our world through alien eyes.

Starring:
Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams
Runtime:
1 hour, 48 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Jonathan Glazer
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams
Supporting actors Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden, D. Meade, Andrew Gorman, Joe Szula, Krystof Hádek, Roy Armstrong, Alison Chand, Ben Mills, Oscar Mills, Lee Fanning, Paul Brannigan, Marius Bincu, Scott Dymond, Stephen Horn, Adam Pearson, May Mewes
Studio STUDIOCANAL Ltd
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S P Mead TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 April 2016
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is highly peculiar movie - concerning aliens, abduction, and self-sacrifice. While I did enjoy the film, I found it both disturbing and, at times, very unpleasant to watch. Nonetheless, if you like tales that are strange, weird and wonderful ... and not so straightforward as to be fully understandable in a single viewing ... then you may enjoy this film.

It's loosely based on a novel of the same title, by Michel Faber. The plot concerns a female alien who comes to Earth, arriving in Scotland, and takes on the appearance of a beautiful and sexy young woman (Scarlett Johansson). She's tasked with seducing and luring lone men to a derelict house, in which they fall prey to a trap - being caught in some sort of liquid dimensional rift - and where they're slowly dissolved (while still alive) from the inside out ... and then, as goop, their remains are sent off to some other world (presumably to be consumed).

This femme fatale realises that what she's doing is wrong. And she starts to acquire a genuine interest in - and possibly a liking for - the Earth and humankind. So she decides to cease her activities and run off ... resulting in some male aliens trying to track her down.

It's a very bleak tale. There's no humour, and little or no joy, in this movie. It succeeds in portraying a picture of 'us' (people) as alien, as seen from the protagonist's perspective. We are "the Other" - and such a depiction can be disturbing.

It's well acted all round. There is some nudity, and brief moments of sex (including a rape scene). So this is not a kids film. I suspect that, over time, this movie will gain an audience that appreciates its dark qualities.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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