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DVD review: 'Under The Skin'

'Under The Skin'


Some time ago, director Jonathan Glazer experienced some success with his films 'Sexy Beast' and to a lesser extent 'Birth'. Behind the scenes, he had a long gestating project that was eventually revealed to the world as 'Under The Skin.'

'Under The Skin'
'Under The Skin'

A strange woman (Scarlett Johansson) travels around Scotland, luring men to go away with her with the promise of a romantic encounter.

In truth, she is up to something far more sinister.

Let's stay vague about this because that will keep it more fun. Don't forget the title. That's your only hint.

Go into this knowing that it is extremely deliberately-paced, almost to the point of being self-indulgent. It is a solid ten minutes before there is any dialog. If you are expecting something like 'Species' or another straightforward science fiction romp, you will likely be infuriated by this. At times, this comes across as art house cinema as opposed to anything close to being horror.

The true strengths of the film would be from the visuals and images. There are some interesting revelations at the end, but when we see our protagonist, luring the men to their demises, it is presented in an imaginative way. It's hard to take the representation literally as it is in an empty space that seems to exist outside of anywhere on Earth. Just watch it and you'll see what I mean.

Unexpectedly, there is an element of growth found in our otherworldly lead. That was a pleasant surprise and makes things interesting. Johansson's nuanced performance is an example of the potential effectiveness of an economical approach to dialog.

Special features include: a series of featurettes that break down various aspects of the filmmaking process and some trailers.

'Under The Skin' is an undeniably well made film. It succeeds in its aims and should be appreciated by many people who see it.

Those who blindly wander into this only based upon a loose idea about the premise or who are lured in by the star (a fair claim), may find themselves scratching their heads.

Add an extra half star to this review.

Rated R 108 minutes 2014