Under the Skin
This is a crude, rude, offensive film devoid of a single moment of charm or interest. It gives all aliens a bad name.
Tantalized by some intriguing reviews, I was lured to see Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. One critic called it “dazzling”, while another labeled it “the best science fiction film in ten years.” Let me simply say that I was misled.
Sure, it stars Scarlett Johansson, but there is nothing remotely memorable about her performance. The film is hard to understand from its delusional opening credits, and the few moments that are intelligible are appallingly offensive.
Without giving anything away, Ms. Johansson is an alien who spends the entire film roaming in a van in Scotland to entice decent men to their demise. It seems that she and other extraterrestrials are in need of skin to make them appear members of the human race, and victims die peacefully as they follow a gradually disrobing Johansson into dark buildings.
In effect, Ms. Johansson plays the role of an exotic fishing lure designed to hook human trout. It was interesting the first time it happened, and it left you thinking, “What’s next?” The problem is that nothing was next, only a repeat of the same thing over and over again.
The film is nearly devoid of dialogue, which only added to its incredible boredom. However, there were several understandable scenes between Johansson and her male victims that were so off-putting so as to leave you regretting entering the theater..
The first concerned a father on a Scottish beach with his two young children and their dog. When the dog swims out into the waves, a 10-year old boy swims after him, leaving both drowning. The father desperately swims after them, leaving a 2-year old child on the beach. When the father starts to flounder, a caring bystander swims out to grab him and bring him back to the shore.
As the bystander lies gasping for air, the father bolts back into the water where you can guess the results. Seeing all this, Johansson walks up to the gasping stranger, hits him over the head with a rock, killing him. As the 2-year old child cries, she ignores him while dragging off the dead body. You can almost hear her mumbling, “Shut up, kid, I need a little skin.”;
The second unconscionable episode concerns the seduction of a poor, facially deformed man who resembled the central character played by Eric Stoltz in the movie Mask (1985). Learning that he had never kissed a girl in his short life, Johansson rewards this poor soul by seducing him to his demise.
Upon some reflection, I know that the purpose of the film was for Ms. Johansson to display an alien who simply didn’t understand acceptable norms of human conduct. On the other hand, she did learn how to drive, not to mention using her sexuality, and her inability to remotely care about the most vulnerable people in our society was inexcusable.
Regardless, I’ve warned you. See it at your own risk.