Like a trippy delirium, Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien siren who preys on men, sucks you into its black bile and keeps you transfixed. This is a 103-minute fevered dream, a delicious trance, and an eccentric commentary on humans’ skin-deep fascination with skin. It’s a fortunate accident that this art house sci-fi is getting a release in Bangkok, thanks not to the movie’s audacious aesthetics, but to the fact that it features a semi-nude Johansson — for marketers, that’s enough of a hook to cash in.
Scarlett Johansson plays an alien in Under The Skin.
So viewers, be patient. Under The Skin is built on the backbone of a noir thriller — an extraterrestrial femme fatale luring horny men into her trap — but the film is less interested in telling that story than in conjuring up a zonked-out mood, a damp daze under the Scottish skies with a centre on Johansson’s voluptuous, inscrutable presence. The film has very little dialogue, and the narrative is oblique rather than slow; trusting that the audience can put together pieces that are sometimes thrown out without explanation. This is cinema not as storytelling but as experience, and a febrile, ecstatic one at that.
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