Genre Grandeur – Under the Skin (2014)


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 aliens@movierob.net 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

 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!

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28 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Under the Skin (2014)

    • It’s a good’en!!! I really hope you enjoy it, I know you’ve said you’re not the hugest on Scarlett Johansson, but she’s unarguably doing some brilliant stuff in this one! 😀

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      • I used to like her, then I have no idea what happened, she just got… well… boring. But it seems that this one is a solid one, so I will be looking into it soon!

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  1. Nice work, Tom! I watched this last week and didn’t love it…. or maybe I did… I had no idea what was going most of the time….

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  2. this is a bizarre, brilliant, in parts quite dull, maddening, shocking film … I can’t decide if it’s amazing or pretentious … but there’s something about it that DEMANDS to be seen.

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    • Interesting point of view Niall, I’m about to go read yours as well. I think you’re spot-on with the fact it needs to be seen. I don’t however view it as pretentious personally, but I can easily see where some might consider it so. There’s not an awful lot of easy entry points into this story, at least from the standpoint of typical Hollywood productions. But this, of course, is anything but a typical production and I think that’s what attracted me to it.

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      • good point about having no easy point of access. there aren’t many alien films where the protagonist is the alien, and we have no real idea what their full motivation might be. Can you imagine if the alien in “Alien” had been the good guy, just trying to get by while all these humans try to kill it?

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  3. Thanks for having me, man! I’m glad to have made you hungry with my rating system! 😉 That’s always the goal. To get people hungry fro some good movie action. 😀 😀

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  4. Reblogged this on digitalshortbread and commented:
    Hey man, sharing is caring. So today I share with you another guest review I have featured over on MovieRob’s terrific site. Over there you’ll find so much stuff to read it’s not even funny. We’re talking multiple quality posts a day, so there’s always something new to read over there. My review of “Under the Skin” joins his July edition of Genre Grandeur. Check it out!

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    • No, Mike, no!!!!! Run towards the light!!!!! (Which is the positive side here). lol.

      It’s a divisive movie, no doubt. You’ll either coming out raving about it or hating it and resenting spending money on it. There’s no middle ground here, I don’t think

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  5. Nice review, buddy! As I said on Niall’s review, I’m still thinking about this one…I hear good things and I hear it’s super weird. Mostly good, though, so I may try to check it out. 🙂

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    • Oh it’s supremely weird! But here, I’ll translate ‘weird’ as awesome and bold and visionary. There have been a handful of these “kinds” of strong, silent type films I’ve watched in the past but that I’ve never been sold on. (A good example might be Primer, but that’s got much more dialogue in it and basically revolves around a subject matter I just don’t understand lol). But this one is one that worked, for me. Largely b/c of how good ScarJo is

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    • Gracias sir, I think that fits my situation as well. An unforgettable, well. . haunting really, experience. Mostly thanks to an absolutely outstanding Scarlett Johansson. What. A Babe. !!!

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