|UNDER THE SKIN (director/writer: Jonathan Glazer; screenwriter: Walter Campbell/based on the novel by Michel Faber; cinematographer: Daniel Landin; editor: Paul Watts; music: Mica Levi; cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden; Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producers: James Wilson/Nick Wechsler; A24; 2013)|
by Dennis Schwartz
unsettling experimental sci-fi film about a
nameless extraterrestrial femme fatale (Scarlett
Johansson) taking the form of a sexy
earth woman and touring Scotland after found in a
ditch by a leather-clad motorcyclist, in director
Jonathan Glazer's ("Sexy Beast"/"Birth")
predatory brainy fantasy film with a one-note plot.
It's adapted from Michel Faber's 2000 novel, and is
devilishly co-written by Walter Campbell
alien is artfully personified by an
'out of this world' Johansson performance, who
dons a black wig and fake fur coat as she rides
a van and comes on as a heartless seducer of all
kinds of lonely Scottish men on the road in both
Glasgow and in the moors.
If you're looking for answers as to what the mysterious alien's venture was about aside from your own observations, don't expect answers from the story itself to be forthcoming. It plays out as a visually pleasing visionary film that targets the art-house crowd as its audience. It's a polarizing film that should divide viewer reactions because of its weirdness, its minimal dialogue, plotless developments and avant-garde film-making style. But for those who fancy something different and surreal, this sobering grim atmospheric mood piece, though certainly far from a perfect film, delivers enough of a charge erotically and intellectually for the viewer to get off on it in a positive way.
REVIEWED ON 5/3/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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