Thursday, September 25, 2014

Under the Skin

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Based on the novel I never heard of until I went to the Wikipedia page on the film...

Under the Skin – 3 out of 5

Under the Skin has basically become known for two things…Number 1) Inspiring an internet meme from the production of the film that had Scarlett Johansson falling down….

Play that funky music, white girl.

And, Number 2) Being dubbed by many, many, many people on the internet as "the one where ScarJo got naked."
Ha, you thought I was going to put a screencap of ScarJo in the buff.  Instead, enjoy this
pic of a half naked white dude awkwardly dancing.

ScarJo—eh, I don’t like calling her that, let’s make up something new…how about LettSon? Yeah, I like that. Anyway, LettSon is a mysterious and disturbingly quiet woman who suddenly appears out of nowhere in Scotland. There’s something clearly off about her—maybe she’s an alien, maybe she’s a Republican, who knows? The one thing that is clear about her is that she has a thing for seducing men to come back to her place where she lures them into a dark abyss of mysterious liquid that, not surprisingly, does something terrible to them. Along the way, these actions start to take a toll on her and starts to open her eyes to the mysterious world around her.
"Wait, I got this.  I'm sure I can struggle my way out of this predicament."

Under the Skin is a very, very loose adaptation of a book of the same name. In fact, the only real thing the two have in common are some very small but intricate details. Other than that, they are almost as different as night and day. However, considering that this isn’t a beloved tween novel about a dystopia or a long beloved nerd classic, I don’t think you’ll hear too much complaining about the changes made for this adaptation. Then again, after reading the synopsis for the book, it might have made this movie a little more exciting.
Is this some new Apple iPod commercial?

Thrill as LettSon drives around for 85% of the movie!
I’m not saying that Under the Skin is boring, it just moves slowly. Methodical paces are fine and, in cases of thrillers like Under the Skin, they often work to great success. This film definitely has its moments where it is uncomfortable to sit through and sorta intense but the film, in the end, was nothing more than something to give a shot to and never really have any ambition to return to. It’s not like the film is offering up much complexity where repeat viewings would be a near necessity and there isn’t much wonder, excitement, or terror that would make more go-arounds a fun prospect. The film is pretty straight forward and pretty repetitive as most of it is just LettSon driving her van, hidden camera footage of everyday people (actually, the hidden camera footage of real people was a pretty cool aspect of the film but not for the story, more so of the production), and then witnessing as she is luring the men to their weird glossy tomb. 
And people say chivalry is dead.

Some intrigue starts to occur when she abandons her mission and flees to "find herself" but, still, at that point the film is slow moving and trudging along like it is going nowhere fast. I’m not saying I wanted a thrill ride because, as you can see, I didn’t give it a bad score. The problem is there wasn’t much to the film’s dynamic. Sure, it’s cool that it has a slightly Kubrick feel to it and the music definitely creates an unsettling feel, not to mention that LettSon is fantastic in her alien-esque role but the movie just really didn’t have much meat to the film to make it anything but a mildly interesting film to take in once.
Isn't this from the end of 2001?

While Under the Skin succeeded in showing off how foreign everything is around LettSon and had moments where what you witnessed was a little unhinged (although, not crazily so but still strange), the film just really isn’t doing much to move the story forward or do anything different. So much of what happens is the same thing over and over again and by the time things start to change and develop in the story, it’s already too close to the credits for much interest to be grabbed.
This part is considered an action scene.

Thrill as you get a close up of LettSon's mouth!
My review does sound like I ended up hating the film more than I liked it but that is pretty far from the truth. Under the Skin isn’t terrible but it just felt like a short film that was stretched to the point of snapping and forced into something longer without any consideration done to filling in that time. In actuality, the film is something I simultaneously enjoyed but was bored by. It’s interesting with its barebones approach but gets boring with its barebones approach. There’s tension in the character's hunt but there’s a repetitive nature to that hunt. The things that work will work but will work to a short extent.  And while it was light on dialogue, the film was lighter on intrigue…but does it really matter?  At least 90% of anyone reading this saw "ScarJo" and "naked" in the same sentence and immediately abandoned my blog.

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