Under the Skin

Under the Skin

I finally managed to see Under the Skin. This is a science fiction movie so out of the ordinary that someone should create a category just for it. Scarlett Johansson makes a big acting statement about not being just another pretty face in a great body.

In Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson produces an excellent performance. This movie is all about her acting in this strange female alien character that abducts (seduces) lonely men while discovering herself in the process. This is partially induced by a Gordon Gallup kind of experience, when she sees herself in the mirror (curiously not used after the failed attempt at having sex – sorry for the spoilers).

Under the Skin’s story is set in a misty Scotland were beautiful landscapes are interleaved with suburban decayed areas. This gives the film a character like a painting of dystopian contradiction.

The sound design and the score are just brilliant. You can feel the coldness, the silences, the curiosities, or the whirl of emotions that pierce Scarlett Johansson as you hear the soundscape that was created by the sound designer.

This movie is not for everyone’s taste. Under the Skin requires the patience of contemplation, the curiosity to wait and to see beyond what is shown. The story is not told. Not given to you in a plate. Instead, you have to construct it as you are allowed to take part in this hyper-realism of the senses. The movie feels like a documentary where you are invited into the characters lives. Almost without dialogs, the movie is a mixture of piece of art, installation and subliminal message. The result can only be contemplated in the end when you think back about what you’re gifted with.

At the end Under the Skin is mesmerising. Scarlett Johansson proves she knows her act. She is a better science fiction character in this movie than the one she did in the film Lucy. Pity this film didn’t get the Oscar’s nominations it deserved.