Under the Skin (2013) Poster

(I) (2013)

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The film that truly proves what a visual medium film is
Daggerborn20 January 2015
I implore anybody that has seen this movie once, and not liked it, to watch it once more. This time, however, take into account that film is a visual medium. Instead of expecting a narrator or a character to easily explain to you what is happening try paying attention to what is happening. Examine and truly THINK about what is expressed visually. The brilliant part about Under The Skin is how well it tells a story without dialog, without running commentary, and without the central character saying much at all.

Think about the purpose of what the female character is doing. The entire story tells itself so easily if you let it. The problem with the modern movie-goer, and admittedly myself, is that we want things explained to us. We're happy to be treated like ignorant flatheads that don't know our butts from our elbows. Look at any other review here on IMDb and pay close attention to what is being criticized. They are mostly the same things over and over again.

They don't criticize what is conveyed through the film's imagery. Instead, they say things like "Not enough was explained." "This film had no plot." "The movie went nowhere." or "Nothing happened." At the risk of sounding smug, I will say that these people are looking for the wrong things in this movie, or any movie. When going into any new film it's important to remember the medium you're choosing to entertain you. It's not like a book on tape, or music. Movies can explain the plot, story, character motivations, and roles without having to have a character, or narrator explain it to you.

I was one of those people that didn't "get" this film and gave it an extremely low rating of 1 star. But I decided to change to a 7 after much reflection on the content and thoughts it provoked afterward. After reading over 5 or 6 positive I got curious. Why do so many people think this movie is fantastic and innovative? I implore you to look up the video review by Renegade Cut.

This one video, in addition to Under The Skin, made me rethink what I think a movie should be. It can be artistic, and different, and entertaining without following the well established formula for modern movies. Personally, I feel like people in general are too harsh. A one star rating should be reserved for terrible films, with nothing to say at all. Well, that's not this film. It certainly has plenty to say about what it's like to be an outsider, and what a gift it truly is to be human.

A one star rating should be reserved for the most thoughtless trash in existence. This isn't even close to that. Was it for me? No, but I certainly "get" it. I get what the message is, and what it was trying to do. That I had to think to myself "What did I just watch?" was enough for a 7 star rating. It made me think, re-evaluate, and wonder. As much as I like Guardians of the Galaxy, or Indiana Jones, I have to ask myself "Did either one of those films make me feel this way?" No, they didn't.

And also, do films necessarily have to be for entertainment? To which I also say no. Films can be about raising a question, or provoking a thought, or experiencing emotions. Maybe the tedium of a scene evokes boredom, but what if that's the point of the scene being shown? Look past your eyes, think about what the director's intent was, and I think you'll enjoy this one way more on a repeat viewing.
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Amazing but not for everyone
spacejunk0016 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film that will divide audiences, for sure - but, don't forget, so did 2001: A Space Odyssey when it came out. Despite the presence of a mainstream actress, and a science fiction premise, this is an art film 100%, inviting a very subjective response from audiences. Which isn't to say it doesn't have a plot, though. Addressing the confusion of previous IMDb comments - the men that Johansson's alien traps have their innards sucked out and transported through a cosmic portal. One scene makes that pretty hard to miss! The film is about her developing a morality based on her actions, and trying to escape the purpose on earth that she's functioned for, that her overseers (the people on motorbikes - also aliens in human form) make sure she goes through with)

A super-creepy music score, amazing visuals and a brave & mesmerizing performance from SJ combine for a film that will be talked about for years to come. Ignore whatever you read about it - especially the bad comments here, which are completely ignorant - and go in with an open mind.
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flashanzan1 August 2014
I don't usually write reviews, this is more a reply to the negative comments - because I'm a contentious little man.

The plot has been criticised as non-existent and this simply isn't the case...All you need to know is there's some kind of experiment going on, could be a prelude to an invasion, but it doesn't matter - there's plenty of research that has been done that isn't condoned (or known) by the whole of society and well is the Alien society homogeneous and united in cause? Hmmmm..see it would take an eon to get into all this detail about the organising principles of another world and the plot simply doesn't need it, neither do you: she's doing a job and leading a life that she becomes deeply conflicted about and her desire for change drives the plot within the crucible the poor Alien finds itself.

Enjoy the wonderful soundtrack, sublime camera work, the eeriness and Scarlet's stunning performance (all actors were great) and all the nuances and themes. A film is the sum of its scenes and this one has some excellent, excellent scenes. The visuals alone are to die for.

The pace? The film I felt was excellently paced, with one small judder at the cake part, but that's entirely minimal and I probably imagined it.

Scots have criticised the portrayal of Scots - it's not a tourist commercial though is it... and isolation (on which she preys) is an easy bed fellow of poverty and other difficulties. It just works. Please see this excellent film, there is so much going on and it is wonderfully dark and desolate.
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Someone kept pausing the film....no wait they didn't.
ArT_of_InSaNiTy16 March 2014
I would like to start by saying i am a fan of films that are "different". I don't need a million gunshots or explosions to entertain me. I am not set on good guy vs bad guy and good guy winning. I like thought provoking films; i enjoy them much more than the soul sucking films that are manufactured on a daily basis. So i was intrigued by this one. The trailer was dark and seemed full of suspense. The critics had made bold comparisons with Stanley Kubrick, which in itself is a massive compliment. And as someone who lives in Scotland it had a little sentiment to it.

But for me it was dull. Every time i thought it was going to pick up the pace, it decelerated. It was so slow it may as well have been going backwards. There are far too many scenes that are prolonged. I am fully aware of its intention to focus on aesthetically driven scenes. But 5/6 seconds is enough to appreciate it, not 10/15 seconds. At some points i thought the reel had maybe stuck and was expecting a CineWorld employee to come pacing round the corner to explain that there was something wrong. It just pauses at points that don't need that much attention. I am also aware of the symbolic nature the film carries. It is clearly a film you need to look further to understand it in more depth. That is fine; i welcome that, but the problem is that it does this without conviction. I don't need to see the masses of drunkards who swarm Sauchiehall Street 20 times. What is the purpose? To let us know that we, as people, blindly walk through life intoxicated not appreciating the finer things in life? That Under the skin we are empty? I assume that is a candidate for its meaning.

Scarlett Johansson doesn't have a lot to do in this film; basically make small talk and get naked, all the while with a plain face. And considering how ridiculous the Scottish actors are made to look, maybe she is due some credit for maintaining that straight face. There are a few things that bug me however; like she can walk down your average staircase, but panics with a spiral staircase. There is a definite point to this film, but with the layout, with there being no real culmination, no real explanation, it leaves you feeling you have been robbed of a film that could have been more. Could have told a better story. And for any Americans who watch, not all Scottish people talk like that, or wear horrible purple shirts, unnecessarily tucking them into our over elevated jeans. We don't all support Hibs and when a van is parked not all of us will gang up and try to break into the van. So feel free to visit. It is a nice place after all. Although the film had some stunning scenes and promotes Scotland visually, it doesn't exactly put the people in a great light.

I wanted to enjoy this film, but i couldn't. I wanted to agree with comparisons with Kubrick, but i certainly won't. You can throw arguments of it was beautifully crafted or had symbolic serenity, but at the end of the day it is slow, uneventful and lacked culmination.
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The non-spoiler trailers represents this wonderful movie perfectly
adrian-159 August 2014
Did any of the 100+ 'one star' 'worst film ever' reviewers see the trailer for 'Under the Skin'? If they had, they would have known exactly what they were in for. I'm just guessing that the prospect of seeing Scarlett Johansson naked had many of them them throw caution into the wind. And then they felt cheated. Serves them right.

The trailer perfectly captures the mood of this film, without giving anything away. Distancing, cold, slow, with a continuous sense of doom, terrifying, but also heartbreaking. Some scenes (on the beach, the last passenger, the two guys) will stay with me forever.

An amazing performance by Scarlett Johansson, who was given very little dialogue and had to act non-verbally for most of the running time. Superb soundtrack, editing, and cinematography. It takes some effort to keep up and fill in the blanks (an easy film this is not), but the rewards are ample. But please, see the trailer first.
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If your open minded give it a try
RaveReviewerzzz10 August 2014
I am surprised by the amount of negative criticism about this film as I found it mesmerising and intriguing. If your expecting some Hollywood movie about a sexy alien killing lots of dull characters in a gory and sensationalised way (with lots of explosions thrown in), then you will be disappointed. The pace is slow however I felt that this contributed to the whole feel and atmosphere. I liked the use of Scotland as a setting especially the way it contrasted the natural beauty of Scotland with some of the urban ugliness that exists. I also liked the way Scarlett Johansson played the main role - cool, sexy and almost emotionless. I am glad I didn't watch this at the cinema as watching it at home meant I could discuss the film during the many periods of calm. There were a few arty scenes in the film but I did not feel these were pretentious or contrived, again they added to the feel of the film. The ending was a little disappointing in my opinion but I still feel this film is classy, original and will make most people think!
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Balloons. Surfaces. A profound study of our society.
eivinas-butkus10 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I have to admit that I did not see the first minutes of the film. Neither have I read the book therefore I will write about this film as if it was a piece of art on its own, which it is.

Under the Skin is a new picture from Jonathan Glazer, who has also directed Birth with Nicole Kidman and some music videos for bands like Radiohead. The main character, alien Laura, is played by the famous actress Scarlett Johansson.

Firstly, there is no obvious narrative in this film, because it does not have a big significance or importance here. On the most basic level it is a story of an alien imposing a woman and seducing men from all over Scotland in order to drain their flesh. This is the most simple summary of the movie. On deeper layers it is a serious study of our society. The film's main focus is on the inside and outside of things, the philosophy of form and material. Johansson's character is struggling in this society. She is always portrayed as going against the stream, she is lost in the sea of rushing people who do not want to get deeper into things, because they know they could be hurt. This is represented in a very subtle visual way. For instance, roses look nice in the film, but they have spikes which make rose seller's hands bleed. A piece of cake seems delicious, but the taste of it is disgusting. It is always the fight between the surface and depth in this film, the first impression and further investigation. I believe it is a very important theme for our society where people are afraid of making commitments or engagements, where they seek for quick pleasures, even though they need true and honest love. The film is very strong visually and stylistically. In order for the reader to get a glimpse of what it is, I will say that it is sort of a combination of Kubrick, Lynch and von Trier.

Kubrick - for using clever cinematic language, for all the subliminal messages that are there like a sign on a building saying "Open 24" which is pretty ironic as nobody in the film is truly open. The director deliberately plays with this open and closed concept a lot. The music is somewhat similar to Eyes Wide Shut's too and I think it is used to the fullest in Under the Skin as a form of expression. One can also feel the influence of 2001: A Space Odyssey with all those shots of abstract liquids and close-ups of a human eye.

Lynch - for the dreamy, surreal sequences and the guy with the ugly face. I see it as a direct reference to his film The Elephant Man where he also talks about the inner beauty of a human being.

Von Trier - for the sea scene (Breaking the Waves), for the foggy scenes in the woods (Antichrist). Like it usually happens with von Trier's work, someone might blame this film of cheap shock value. I do not think that is the case. The film is being a little provocative, indeed, but at the same time all those provocations are reasoned by the message the director wants to convey.

So one can easily feel some influence from other directors, maybe some references, but I should say that this film does not lack originality at all. The directing decisions and the choice of music are as strong as the 2.5 minute close-up of Nicole Kidman's face in Birth. If you have seen that scene, you know what you are dealing with here.

Even though, in my opinion, the images are very meaningful and extremely powerful, Under the Skin has received a lot of contrasting responses. Personally, I think the film is a masterpiece and it is worth the Golden Lion, but there are people who actually hated it and booed at it after having seen it. I cannot really understand why they did that, but I think it is good when a piece of art inflicts emotions and receives such different responses. It means that it is not mediocre and that it will cause discussions, maybe some self reflection which is always a good thing. The film suggests that I should get more into details, analyse things carefully from beginning to end, but I will not, just because I want other people to see it first and make their own conclusions. But obviously Under the Skin demands a bigger analysis than this one. I will just say that I was blown away by what I saw on the screen and by what I heard from the speakers. I hope I will get to see it again on the big screen. It has so much power and it is questioning the most important, essential things about our existence - our values as human beings. Where are we going, where are we rushing? Maybe we need to stop and look at the beauty around us? Maybe we should stop being superficial about others? Or maybe we are empty like balloons ourselves? For me it is definitely the best film from the 70th Venice Film Festival and one of the best films I have seen in my life.
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If you fall asleep you will have missed nothing.
postmortem-books23 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
At the end of this film someone shouted out "What a load of old pony" and a cheer went up from a fair proportion of the audience - that part that either hadn't left before the end or hadn't fallen asleep. To continue the metaphor then this film is up there with the old nag that Steptoe and Son keep in their back yard.

The opening minutes are pretty indicative of what's to come. A nonsensical light show that signifies what precisely? Throw in eerie soundtrack music. And then extend it way beyond the powers of concentration of the most devoted of viewers.

Motor-bike man runs into a dark ditch and picks up a woman who looks dead. Next, another woman strips the dead woman. Next, she is driving around Glasgow in a white van. The combination of darkness/semi-light and Glaswegian accents which are more or less indecipherable only serves to make whatever's going on on-screen even more confusing. Somewhere along the line the Elephant Man has escaped from another film and gets picked up by Johanssen. He doesn't drown like the previous two men that she seduces but runs off naked across the moors. Motor-bike man catches him and puts into the boot of a car. He drives off. Don't know what happens to the car or Elephant Man. By this time people were leaving, my neighbour was sound asleep and I had two red-hot pins ready to stick into my eyes.

I can't even be bothered to run over the rest of this abysmal, tedious story. Shots were held for ever in the mistaken belief, I presume, that we gave a damn about we were seeing. Nothing happened.

It's now the next morning and I'm still angry at forking out £10 and wasting 2 hours of life to see this pile of dreck. Beany-hatted, sandal-wearing academics will just love this film and will witter on endlessly to their poor students about the "significance" of it all. Believe me, there is none.
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Not the Book
Sharonov17 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
About 5 years ago I read the book by Michael Faber. In the book, a strange looking woman with big boobs picks up Scottish hitchhikers, ascertains if they're alone in the world; if they are, she takes them to a secret place where they are anesthetized, then castrated and de- tongued. They are then fattened to be used for food in the place she comes from, an unnamed planet. She has had her face altered to look human by removing her snout. She feels very ugly because of this. At one point a male she was in love with comes to visit the secret place and she feels terrible because of her "deformity", realizing that now he will never love her. At one point in the book she is almost raped by a very crude man, and blinds him with her nails.

The poor men being fattened for food are depicted as being very pathetic, and I originally thought it was a protest against the way we treat factory farm animals. Michael Faber denied this, and maybe that's why he hasn't protested this very vague use of his work. And, maybe he's just hungry.

This movie is so far from the book it's ridiculous, but that would have been OK if it weren't so boring. Some of the special effects and music were just weird enough to make what happens almost believable. Had it been shortened; had it been a little more obvious why the men were being caught and imprisoned in the jello stuff, I think I would have enjoyed it more. As the previous reviewer pointed out, the scenes were just too long.
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The problem here...
bongo_x14 April 2015
The problem with movies like this is that you have the people who hate slow, mysterious movies and it's automatically 1 star because there were no car chases or dubstep, and the people that feel they have to defend anything quiet and ambiguous like this and give 9 or 10 stars. "So boring" vs "You just don't get it, man". These types of films always only get 1 or 10 ratings. Really, it's not possible to make a so-so version?

Sometimes people try to make moody, interesting, thought provoking, different kinds of movies and just don't do a great job. This film was right up my alley in every way, but in the end I just said "meh". It wasn't awful, but it did feel a little dull and needlessly drawn out, seemingly because there just wasn't enough to say to fill the time. There also wasn't much to get, really people, it's not that deep or obtuse.

If there had been more eye candy (besides the obvious) I could have dealt with the other weaknesses easier. But I didn't think the visuals were all that interesting as a lot of people seem to. The whole thing was very film school and didn't totally feel like the work of a mature director, but if you told me it was a student film or something a first timer made on credit cards I would have believed you and said "hey nice effort, keep at it".

I would like to give it more than a 4 just because it's totally my kind of film, but it really didn't deserve it, and as I said, that's the problem with these kinds of movies, people voting for what kind of film they like instead of how good this particular one was.
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Jonathon Glazer continues his ascent with another fabulous movie that will entirely divide its audience
markgorman16 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
You have never seen a movie even remotely like this.

It's been a long time coming. Ten years in development, to be precise, and I've followed the saga throughout.

My interest was based on my love of the source novel by Michel Faber which is a modern classic.

Clearly the 10 year development period demonstrated the difficulty with which the novel would translate to the screen but, in my opinion, it was worth the effort, and the wait.

When I heard that it was in Jonathon Glazer's hands (Birth and Sexy Beast) I was encouraged, and when I found out that Scarlett Johansen was to play the central character Isserley (unnamed in the movie but credited as Laura for some reason) my heart skipped a beat.

I was not disappointed, but let's make no mistake, this is a Marmite movie.

My wife was bored to tears. And I can see why one IMDb reviewer headlines his review "Tedious. Thoughtless. Empty. A failure in all ways." But I disagree entirely. It's fair to say that the pace is laconic, but it's a thing of beauty and a movie packed full of ideas, unique special effects and greatness.

If you haven't read the novel you might be forgiven for asking what the hell is going on in this story and, yes, there are elements of it that are fully explored. The long section of the movie where Isserley combs the streets of Glasgow, looking for her victims, with the help of hidden cameras bringing a documentary feel to the whole proceeding, is long and a little repetitive. But it's necessary to show the exhaustion of her task and her eventual disintegration. What's more, it does not paint the city in an entirely positive light. To that end Creative Scotland should be commended for supporting it. It's a movie packed with visual metaphor. There are some moments of horror but they are far from gratuitous and all completely emotionless which is to be expected given that Isserley is an alien, devoid of emotion, sent to earth to farm unattached males for her home planet (not that you'd work that out).

From the opening sequence in which Isserley's eyes are created, to replicate humans', the imagery is breathtakingly disconcerting. It's underpinned by an outstanding soundtrack by Mica Levi.

Johansonn is magnificent. Isn't she always? She is brave to take on a role this opinion dividing, and she manages to exude a total lack of emotion throughout in such a way that, unbelievably, you kind of sympathise with her role as human culler.

Glazer is magnificent. But he always is. Birth is a much underrated movie and anyone who saw his debut, Sexy Beast, cannot fail to love the guy.

This is a great movie. Rammed to the rafters with original thought. It's just a great pity so many of you will dislike it so much.
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Long shots and long silences
davidgee19 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The last time I was this bored in a cinema it was during the era of the French New Wave: films like Last Year In Marienbad and Hiroshima Mon Amour, which were all about Style (if you can call it that) rather than Substance.

Scarlett Johansson plays a mysterious woman who preys on hitch-hikers and dropouts in Glasgow and the Scottish Lowlands. It isn't confirmed until the end that she's a PREDATOR-style alien being, but the critics have not kept this "spoiler" from us, so I guess it's okay to mention it. Based on a cult novel and with a cult director (Jonathan Glazer: SEXY BEAST), the film is full of long shots and long silences. It's also filmed in near-total darkness, presumably to keep down the cost of special effects, but this means the viewer can't actually tell what's going on most of the time. Is she just killing her victims or is she 'assimilating' them? Don't know and - sorry! - don't care.

I can't imagine why they needed a star of Johansson's magnitude for this low-budget tosh. Nor can I imagine why she took the role. The SPECIES movies covered the storyline more thrillingly and more viscerally. If this is meant to be a pretentious "art-house" film about an alien predating on alienated members of Scottish society, all I can say is it definitely alienated me!
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A truly disturbing masterpiece
rb-6628 July 2014
Oh the sweet anger of the morons who stumbled into this looking for another vacuous blockbuster. Finally some revenge for all the promising sci-fi films lately we've been duped into hoping would be something interesting.

This film is difficult to describe. It is dark, atmospheric, unsettling, terrifying but utterly captivating. It's tone reminded me of 2001, although it's even more sparse than that. But that is as good a reference point as any to get a sense of this film, and it's that good. Scarlet Johansson is wonderful. The score is perfect and it's stunningly shot.

A truly unique film.
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Did someone owe a favor?
mavnick-112 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
OK, so we sat through the entire film. We left after the credits rolled and looked at each other with the "WTF was that!" look. Some observations: 1. Scarlett had one facial expression throughout the whole film 2. Those who compare it to the works of Stanley Kubrick have obviously not seen a Stanley Kubrick film 3. The soundtrack was annoying which I would contribute to the director having made too many music videos 4. Too many holes in the script to mention here 5. Who were the guys on the motorcycle and how come they did not need to "feed" ? 6. The reviews I had read mentioned that it used ground breaking techniques in camera placement (in the van), Have these guys seen any episodes of COPS? That is inventive camera placement! 7. And what was she thinking when she signed on to do this film???
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Brilliant, Fresh & Stimulating in every sense...
Lisbeth_S15 March 2014
Whenever you have a groundbreaking film that redefines Form, you are going to have some that either love it or hate it. Having said that, as I get older I more often find reading the user comments on IMDb fills me with despair for the species. For anybody to dismiss Under The Skin as "boring" they must have no interest in human consciousness, science, technology, philosophy, history or the art of film-making. Finally I understand why most Hollywood productions are so shallow and vacuous - they understand their audience.

"Under The Skin" is unique among films in content and scope. The cinematography is out-of-this-world, breathtaking, and the musical score is sublime. I rarely use the word "masterpiece" to describe a movie. But Jonathan Glazer's "Under The Skin" is art in the highest sense, like Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", or Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night".

The film requires you to watch in a different way than you normally watch films. It requires you to experience strange and beautiful images without feeling guilty that there is no complex plot or detailed characterization. Don't get me wrong, plots and characters are good, but they're not the be-all and end-all of everything. There are different KINDS of film, and to enjoy 'Under The Sin' you must tune your brain to a different wavelength and succumb to the pleasure of beauty, PURE beauty, 'the vast unknown' and an Alien perspective, unfettered by the banal conventions of everyday films.

"Under The Skin" is a absolutely unique movie experience. Those who miss out on it do so at the detriment of their own intellectual and imaginative capacities.
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Mesmerising existentialist Science Fiction
mrsuspend27 July 2014
I believe Under the Skin to be one of the best Science Fiction films I've seen- and I've seen quite a few. Looking at our world though the eyes of an alien is an unsettling, moving and ultimately deeply philosophical experience, ending on an almost Graham Greenesque note. The lack of sentimentality or anthropomorphism in particular gives the film an immediate, almost documentary feel which actually draws you closer to Scarlett Johansson's businesslike seductress. However, this is not in any way a Hollywood production. If you like big, expensive sets, posing movie stars, and predictable, cosy entertainment, this film is not for you. But if you appreciate directors like David Lynch, writers like Philip K. Dick and actors actually acting, I strongly suggest you give Under the Skin a go.
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I must have missed something
joaoapinho12 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Reading the majority of reviews regarding this film, and fully trusting the 7.4 IMDb user rating I went to the movies and watched this film. This is a decision I'll regret for the rest of my life. I found this film to be incredibly dull and pointless. Its plot is far from original and I left the room feeling as though these were 108 minutes of my life I'll never get back. Too many plot-holes to mention, way too many slow parts. I guess that the only things that lead me to give it a 2/10 instead of a 1/10 were the photography of the film and Scarlet's performance. I am extremely confused and amazed by the generally positive reaction to this piece of nonsense.

SPOILERS: The whole plot revolved around an alien creature inside a human skin (Scarlet Johansson) who went around Scotland in a van picking up lonesome males with a promise for intercourse. Those who were willing to follow her/it home had the luck of seeing her almost naked, only to realize the floor was liquid. They would then drown and somehow stay alive and aware, until their entire insides were removed, leaving only the skin. Scarlet's character was, god know why, pushed around by a mysterious motorcycle man. No other details about who was this man or what he was doing were given. In the end the alien is almost raped by a lumberjack in the middle of nowhere, during which her/its skin is peeled off. In horror the lumberjack sets fire to the alien which leads to her/its demise.
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Complete and utter garbage. Kubrick would roll over in his grave.
citrus-istari25 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Haven't seen a worse movie in years. A lot of people say that plot ideas were left out so that the viewer could make their own theories about it, and I love when a movie does that. This is not one of those movies, main plot points weren't just left out, there isn't any. An hour and forty minutes of Scarlett Johanson getting naked, seducing guys, and killing them in some weird vortex pool inside a house. And... that's the whole movie, I wish I was joking about that but I'm not.

Every time I thought something significant was going to happen to move the story along, it was just more of the same. Kubrick would roll over in his grave for this movie being compared to anything he wrote. 2001 was one of the best movies ever, it was abstract, beautiful, and thought provoking. This movie was none of those things, it was boring and the same from start to finish.
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Tedious bore with no story
catstats2431230 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Overall a boring film in which nothing really happens - I feel Scarlett must've just done this for a few spare quid as she is barely recognisable compared to the magic she puts into Captain America. Picture it paints of Scotland makes me wish they do vote yes for independence to get rid of such depressing places. As for the music? Enough to send an insomniac to sleep. The story - what there is of it - offers no explanations or outcomes of the victims or what she is doing what she is doing and the dialogue almost non existent. There were only 15 people in the screening on a Saturday night when I watched this - only five were left at the end I wish I hadn't been one of them
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It's OK to be different, it's OK to do your own thing.
proterozoic4 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting how it worked out for Scarlett Johansson this year: first, a voice-only role in 'Her,' then this one where she's highly visible but says almost nothing. Merge the two, and you have a full-blown talkie.

Under the Skin is the sort of movie that gives critics a bad name, because it's really good and they invariably love it and get perceived as abstract art snobs. I too get annoyed with experimental movies that try to seem profound by dumping a load of nonsense on the viewer and counting on apophenia to do their job.

However, there's a huge difference between deliberate obfuscation and 'show, don't tell,' and Under the Skin is a fantastic example of the latter. It's bleak, quiet and depressing, and most people who see it will probably hate it, but they should anyway, just to help them realize how much redundant clap-trap there is in most of our movies.

Under the Skin may not have a single line of exposition, but is easy to follow. The story fits in a tag line: alien sex siren lures men into its creepy lair and sucks out their essence; but somewhere along the line, begins to have doubts.

Much of it is shot documentary-style, with hand-held or concealed cameras. ScarJo drives a rapevan around Glasgow, trying to pick up stray men. She brings them back to a house, stripping slowly as they hop after her on one foot to get their pants off. Once they're nude, they sink into the ground without a trace.

The movie switches between hidden camera footage, damp naturalistic sweeps of forests and ocean waves, and nice non-representational effects, like the opening where color beams and circles slowly morph into a human eye, over strange disjointed vocalizations that bring to mind a mollusc practicing English.

While we're on the subject of English spoken by creatures it wasn't meant for, the Scottish accents are insurmountable. It's like Britain's Cantonese. And there are no subtitles. Typical dialog:

ScarJo: "Do you live alone?"

Guy: "Elxzap zlflasd opvejcf kljndjk gjsgs csdag."

ScarJo: "That must be hard."

Guy: "Akhadks lklsdgsga erlifsd, h aha."

ScarJo: "Heh."

Luckily, we're not missing much here - most of the talk in this movie is the same kind of noise-making that goes on between couples in bars, to fill up space while the real conversation goes on via body language ("You want to bang?" "Yes.")

Why should you see this movie? Because it's really beautiful, shows you visuals you've never seen before, tells a tragic mystery without burying you in exposition, and holds an absolutely unselfconscious confidence. It shows beauty and ugliness as a matter of fact, without constantly checking to make sure we grasp which is which. It uses special effects to quietly augment reality and paint the fantastic into the corners of ordinary scenes. It may leave you weirded out and uncomfortable, but if you're tired of noise and crave a film experience that's tasteful, minimal and pure like a Tschichold book cover, run and see it now now now.
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Don't ever see this movie!!!!!
lvasilis0014 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Please make a favor yourself and don't spend money to see this movie! 1. The most boring film you can find. I think most people were sleeping or playing with their mobile phone. 2.Nothing really Happens in this movie!!! I mean it! Really nothing. If you watch this movie, you may give it a little time before you judge it. You may say "ok i am gonna wait a few minutes. It may become better" But it wont! 3. The music is awful. And in comparison with the boring scenario its something you won't be able to stand! 4. Maybe the worst movie of Scarlet! Concluding, It needs only 10 minutes to realize that this movie is a crap! I don't know why some people rate this movie for 10. OK its a different movie, but this doesn't mean that different is always good!
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Haunting, Chilling, Beautiful, and Mysterious
HoldenJ_C1 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If you go through all the negative reviews for this film, one thing is abundantly clear; the people who dislike it have no clue what the story is, didn't pay good attention, and are otherwise generally misinformed about the plot and what is actually happening in the film. This movie needs to have some ever so slight prior investigation before viewing for you to fully appreciate it. Some people in the reviews were clearly not even aware that Scarlett Johansson was indeed an alien. To view this movie without having any prior knowledge of basic plot or without having read the book is similar to watching Prometheus without first having seen Alien, its a shallow experience compared to the one you should be receiving.

I have seen countless movies in my time and there is genuinely none like Under The Skin in nearly any way. It's one of those creepy, haunting films that will linger with you after you finish viewing and make you think and wonder much more than your run of the mill blockbuster movie that people oh so love to see. There are multiple scenes that are genuinely uncomfortable to watch because they are so disturbed, but the visual presentation and the absolutely terrifying score make it hard to look away. I do not want to go too much into specific story details, but even though Scarlett is this human-harvesting Alien seemingly devoid of emotion for the majority of the film, the story is presented so meticulously that you begin to sympathize with her and feel bad for her, to the point where you eventually wish she could have possibly had a different fate in the ending than the one she was left with.
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Stunning! One the most original films I have ever seen. Every frame was beautiful
pwhawkins196316 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It is a perfectly paced surreal piece of cinema. its like nothing I have seen before. Stills from movie will shown in galleries for years to come.

The film is not for everyone I must admit. But don't be discouraged by dim witted reviews. The plot is not explained by the characters at every free moment and requires you think and use your imagination to fill in the blanks, which I found so refreshing.

I urge you go check this film out first chance you. It's great to original film and original film makers like Glazer pushing the boundaries of film in ways other vfx. The only way people like Glazer will get to carry on making films if everyone gets out and supports these kinds of films. Or we just end up transformers 4 ,5 and 6.
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Progressively Infuriating
benjancewicz-111 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Plot less meaningless pointless unpaced actionless minimalist random frustrating film, with a horrible modernist soundtrack.

The only meaning the film has is that which has been laid upon it by the viewer; the film provides little to no substantial items to go off of. At it's base, it's a film depicting the confusion an alien feels at encountering humans. But the film could have easily done this without being confusing itself to the point of obtuseness.

Made me angry that I wasted 2 hours and the price of a movie ticket on it. It's like a college art film with too much time and too big a budget.

Worst movie I've ever seen.
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We walked out
rzacchi7613 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I cant tell you the ending because we didn't last that long. I saw people say that bad reviews are for those who just don't get it...if that is the case then I accept I didn't.

I typically do not need dialog to explain a movie or a plot spoon fed for me. I have an imagination and am OK with strange pacing but by half way through the movie I should know a little more than what I knew when I read the brief descriptions online of the movie.

There was definitely interesting camera work that can be seen as art...however, this was being shown as a movie in an everyday movie theater. I have seen video art that I have appreciated but not in a movie theater where the expectation is to have plot and character development throughout the movie. A woman eating cake that is then spit up or having a man become a flesh balloon just wasn't significant enough for a little over half way through.

I honestly have only walked out of two movies in my life and this is one of them...we also left after another couple walked out (which equaled about 20% of the audience).
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