Monday, February 6, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #50: "Under the Skin" (2013)

Movie Stats:
Released 2013 (USA)
British, American & Swiss, in English
Director - Jonathan Glazer
Stars - Scarlett Johansson

Plot Summary:
An unnamed woman (Johansson) prowls the streets of Scotland looking for male victims to pick up. Vague, I know, but more explanation than that would spoil it.

Full male & female nudity; violence; gore; sexy times; attempted rape; minor blue language.

Bad Stuff:
It’s very dull. In theory, watching Scarlett Johansson wander around for nearly two hours sounds awesome. In practice, it’s not.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever explained.

Although it could be argued that she "deserved it," given what she did to all of her poor, lonely victims, I hated that the woman was victimized by a man in the end. To me, it was a huge detraction from what made this film remotely interesting.

Good Stuff:
The visuals are stunning. I’m not referring to all the naked people (although some of them were stunning too).

It’s got great atmosphere. The music sets most of the tone, but the camera work and the acting play into it as well. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable to watch and it is.

I enjoyed the sparse use of dialogue. It was different.

The Verdict:
It was interesting to see men being portrayed as vulnerable, helpless victims, something that is rarely found in media. Did it make me uncomfortable? Was I distressed? Certainly. There’s something about this film that is fundamentally, deeply disturbing. I think that’s a good thing. Movies that make us feel something are few and far between. Also, it has a really old school vibe. It’s that atmosphere - it reminded me of a 1950s sci fi-horror movie, albeit without the camp. However, this film is very, very boring. Like, I’m-surprised-I-wasn’t-lulled-into-a-coma boring. It’s too bad. I really struggled with how to rate it but ultimately decided not to leave it languishing in the doldrums of the 2s.

I give it 3 stars.


Patricia said...

I picture you with an Excel workbook sorting and resorting your ratings while muttering to yourself.

This movie was VERY POPULAR among the various movie podcasts. The soundtrack was also called out as being awesome. It has come home from the library with me, but it went back unwatched. I couldn't motivate myself.

Side note. I'm at the San Francisco airport right now and sititng next to a water bottle refill station. I've just heard a very enthusiastic interchange between two people about a specific kind of water bottle. This is a great seat for people watching, though I keep being confused as to why so many people stop so close to me. Then I remember the water bottle station. Me=goldfish surprised by the little plastic castle.

Anyway, back to the movie, I like that Scarlett Johansson does so many varied things.

balyien said...

The cynic in me can't help but wonder if this film's popularity in presumably male-dominated movie podcasts has something to do with Scarlett Johansson's extensive full-frontal nudity.

Re: water station. It seems like, once one gets into non-disposable water bottles, one really gets into them. I suppose I'd want the best one too. I've been meaning to get a camel back for hiking but there always seems to be something else to spend money on.