Scarlett Johansson has always taken on a wide variety of roles from her big budget turn as Black Widow or in smaller films like Don Jon. Lately she has been taking on roles in smaller films like her latest Under the Skin from Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer, that takes her in directions not typically seen from her, but does it deliver enough to make it out of this world?
Under the Skin follows A female alien comes to Scotland to replace a deceased alien. She drives a van through the roads and streets seducing lonely men to process their bodies. Soon the emotionless alien sees her human form in a mirror and she experiences the human emotions and feelings coming to a tragic discovery. From the opening sequence of this movie you know this is going to be a strange film. The director took a simple concept and instead making a throwaway average sci-fi film, opted to do something a bit out there and it works. Most of the filming was apparently done in a more gorilla style with some of the people in the film just normal people instead of actors that makes for numerous interesting exchanges between Johansson and the people. At times the film is all over the place and it sports very little dialogue to help it flow, but somehow still manages to deliver. As a sci-fi film it is very much like those of the 70s that seem ahead of their time attempting things that people will just no understand, which in turn will make it hard for some people to get into. Johansson gives a great performance that is haunting, strange and sexy all at once. Her lack of emotion and subtle approach to the sexy character is excellent and helps this film be more than just an artsy film and instead something more intriguing and original. There aren’t too many visual effects, but the few that they use as well as the stylized sets used for the alien worlds work great and add to the bizarre nature of it all.
This is one of those movies that is likely to split people right down the middle either enjoying it or hating it. Like it or not there is no doubt that this is an original film that stands apart from most everything out there in a good way. If you choose to give this film a chance then open your mind and let it all sink in and stick with it. There is an interesting growth and direction for the character with an ending that works great and is a bit ironic helping this film to cement the subtle brilliance of it all if you get it.