ICYMI Review – Under the Skin

ICYMI, In case you missed it.  Where we will review and talk about different items you might have missed the first time around.

under-the-skin.27563Under the Skin
Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson

Under the Skin is unlike any movie I think I have ever seen before.  I’m not even sure if I liked it or not, but the movie has stuck with me.  I find myself still thinking about it and trying to dissect it.  Even if you dislike this movie you might find yourself wanting to watch it again to try and understand it.

Since this was not a major release movie and people may have missed it on the initial release, I’ll try to avoid major spoilers.

This is a movie with a seemingly straightforward plot. Scarlett Johansson is out to capture single men and bring them back to her house.  She is on the prowl for men who seemingly have no family or friends to miss them.  She invites them back to her place for sex, or so they think.  What happens to them is a completely different story.  Sinister plans are afoot.

MV5BMTg1NjY2MTkzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzMyNjk3Nw@@._V1__SX1304_SY603_This really is a movie that people will discover on DVD.  I can even see this film being part of discussion groups or film schools.  It’s an entirely unique narrative structure.  We have almost no backstory on who Scarlett is, what her name is, what she is doing or why she is doing it.  She simply exists and is on a mission, and we are along for the ride with her.  IMDB does not even list character names for the cast.  There is very little dialogue.  This is the proverbial riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

The story centers around men’s sexual desire and how Scarlett’s character uses that to entice men.  It’s a very sexual story, but it’s almost entirely devoid of emotions or any emotional connections.  The sexuality and lust is portrayed in a very clinical and calculated manner.  This is not a sexy or glamorous movie.

It’s not until the final third of the movie that some real emotional connections begin to be formed.  I’m hesitant to even call this the final act, because the story does not seem to conform to the standard three act dramatic structure.

Scarlett’s character is changed once she starts to emotionally connect to the people around her.  She begins to question everything.  Discovering her humanity, she begins a downward slide to the end of the film.

MV5BODI2NzU5MDY0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTA3NDQ0MTE@._V1__SX1304_SY603_The filmmakers used hidden cameras and guerrilla filmmaking to capture everything.  Many of the people in the movie are not actors but actual people on the street.  They were not told what was actually going on until afterwards.  The movie is visually impressive, with long shots of the Scottish countryside.  The visual fx are used sparingly but incredibly well to create imagery that is memorable and very alien.

This is not a film for everyone.  But for those who want a truly unique experience I recommend giving this one a chance.

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