Director: Jonathan Glazer
Running time: 1 hour and 48 minutes
Movie critics love Under the Skin, the most recent movie of Jonathan Glazer, who has previously directed Birth and Sexy Beast over the period of something like 13 years. The movie, based on a novel by Michel Faber, follows the adventures of our protagonist, Scarlet Johansson, around Scotland.
So I'll come right out and say it, I HATED THIS MOVIE!!!!!!! I was in agony, i wanted to shoot myself in the face and never ever see that van again in my life.
But let me explain why i had such a strong reaction to this movie. To do that, i will make this review special and start with my thoughts on the negative aspects of Under the Skin. My main problems were two, the first one being how slow paced it was. I didn't expect anything super fast and adrenalin filled but the degree of the slow-moving pace was unbelievable. Minutes were passing by and nothing was happening. And i mean nothing. After a point it became exhausting, nerve-inducing and all in all a black energy-consuming hole that sucked the life out of my eyes (and yes i know how dramatic i am being). The movie runs 1 hour and 48 minutes long and i felt like it was 4 hours.
But making things even worse, Under the Skin was incredibly repetitive. Scene after scene following the same path with slight differences. As mentioned before, if i ever see that van or that black lake/floor again i will hit my head on the wall. Subsequently, if i was to remove all the extremely similar scenes, Under the Skin would come down to a half an hour sort film (that i would probably love).
However, there were some great attributes to Under the Skin that i can recognise and appreciate even though i couldn't stand the movie as i was watching it. The premise of the human-looking alien that comes to earth and experiences for the first time everything that we take for granted in our everyday lives is an interesting idea that i would have liked to see made into the short film i previously mentioned.
Another idea i was interested in was that in the begging of the film the fact that Scarlet Johansson's character has never eaten chocolate cake or has never felt sadness and empathy or has never had sex and her reaction to all that is so wonderful and pure and by the end, when she is the most happy she has been in the whole movie, the same fact, that she has never experienced life as a human before, turns into the very thing that destroys her is very though-provoking and intriguing.
In conclusion, this movie got Under my Skin (such a good pun, i know) in a really unique (and not good) way. If you have a low threshold for slow-going and overlong movies stay away, but if you don't mind a more relaxed and unhurried structure in a film you will probably end up loving Under the Skin.
Score: 20% (but if you had asked me my score right after watching the movie it would be more like Score:0%)
Courtesy of A24 Films