Under the Skin

An alien being comes to Earth and assumes the form of a gorgeous and seductive young woman and proceeds to drive around Scotland in a cargo van trying to lure unsuspecting male victims back to her lair. Once there, she begins to strip onto an inky-black floor walking backwards into the room. Hypnotized by her beauty, the men strip as they slowly sink into a black pool of death so their bodies can be harvested for some unexplained nefarious purpose. As the film progresses, our alien vixen begins to change and wants to explore what being human is about and is introduced to an Earthly phenomenon known as karma.

If M. Guthrie wasn’t the star of this film, I would have probably shut it off before it was halfway over. The first 45 minutes or so are very repetitive, with the alien picking up her unsuspecting victims, driving them back to her abode with some boring chit-chat, luring them to their death, then lather, rinse, and repeat. Character development is nonexistent until our unnamed alien begins to explore her presumed humanity. The monotonous tone does virtually nothing to engage the viewer, and something was certainly lost in translation from the Michael Faber book that the film is based on.

1114skin.box.jpgThe video encode is competent and engaging, with the majority of the film shot digitally with Arri Alexa Plus cameras. Some scenes—particularly in the alien’s van—were captured with a slew of GoPro-like cameras manufactured by One of Us One-Cam, which, in comparison with the Arri Alexa, convey a slightly softer look. The film is dark and dreary, and fortunately the shadow detail holds up throughout. There is some banding and some minor compression noise in a few scenes, but they wouldn’t have been as distracting if the movie was more entertaining.

The audio track’s tone fits the mood of the movie and begins with an eerie and bizarre score that sounds like a bunch of toddlers trying to play the violin. There are a few very immersive scenes, including a morning at the beach and a nightclub scene that liven up the action.

Supplements include ten brief looks at various aspects of the production, with the pieces on the Camera and VFX being the best.

To say I was disappointed with this one was an understatement. In fact, if M. Guthrie didn’t bare all in the third act, this film would have been a complete waste of time, though that was a letdown as well.

Studio: Lionsgate, 2013
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 108 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay

eugovector's picture

Misogyny is a bad look. Check your twitter feed.