And here’s another review for this month’s Genre Grandeur – Aliens, submitted by Tom of Digital Shortbread.
If you don’t already follow his site, I recommend that you do so he has some great in depth movie reviews, 30 for 30, numerous opinion pieces and his rating system always gets my stomach rumbling.
It’s still not too late to send me your reviews for this month’s genre. You have until the 25th, so send them to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you can so I can schedule them for you.
Now on to Tom’s Review of Under the Skin (2014)
Under the Skin
Number of times seen – 1 (April 29, 2014)
Brief Synopsis – An alien disguised in human form moves across Scotland, luring men she finds on the streets first into her van, and then. . .into an entirely different world.
My take on it – I wouldn’t necessarily consider Jonathan Glazer’s most recent peculiar film my favorite all-time alien film. . .just one that I’ve seen recently that I really really have been impressed by. I would probably still hold Under the Skin up fairly high in the rankings of my all-time favorites, though, for this is an exceptionally bizarre yet ultimately emotionally worthwhile experience.
The film finds Scarlett Johansson operating at possibly her highest level ever as this odd and rather unsettling alien creature who is seen in the beginning assuming the form of a beautiful woman, and travels across the bleak countryside of Scotland looking for ‘companionship.’
Or something. It’s actually never entirely clear what Alien’s true intentions are, but we do see what her actions lead her to doing later on — and that’s partially what is so rewarding about this stunningly visual experience. The plot is likely to pick off a fair amount of viewers as they could find its slow burning set-up either far too simplistic and/or boring, or possibly flat-out nonsensical and pointless. Despite this, and from a completely objective standpoint, Glazer still manages to depict some of the most complex and abstract concepts you’re likely to see attempted.
Under the Skin may not be a film for everyone as it severely lacks in dialogue, significant action and a traditional offering of a story, instead using visuals to represent its often heavy themes. Themes such as loneliness and isolation despite being in a world of some 7-billion; finding identity in said world; finding companionship and finding out who you can really trust in life.
Bottom line – It’s not an easy dig, but I promise all of this is there to be found in Under the Skin. It takes some effort and some looking but the film is ultimately one of the most uncompromising and unique I’ve seen all year. And possibly in the last several. Bolstered by an exquisite performance from Johansson, I highly highly recommend giving this little quirky gem a try if you ever have the chance.
Rating – Oscar worthy
Thanks again to Tom for this great review!