clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Saturday Night's Alright For Commenting: May 14, 2016

New, comments

It's Saturday night, so obviously I'm just going to talk about UNDER THE SKIN, starring Scarlett Johansson. That sort of non-football talk is fair game in BRB's Saturday Night Open Thread.

Scarlett Johansson in Italy promoting UNDER THE SKIN
Scarlett Johansson in Italy promoting UNDER THE SKIN
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

I'm a pretty well-rounded guy when it comes to my movie tastes.  I'm not really against any genre - as long as a movie is well-made, I'm all for it.  I'm also an admitted movie snob - like, the worst kind.  So feel free to completely ignore the following - just go watch some garbage Zack Snyder movie and forget you ever peeked in the door.

Are you a fan of the sci-fi?  I am... but I have a special place in my heart for the "smaller-scale", less epic movies.  Sure, I love the classics - Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the less-sh*tty Star Wars movies, etc., etc.

If you can appreciate something of a smaller scale, that's artsy but not blatantly pretentious, and doesn't spoon-feed you an answer to every question you have - I submit to you Jonathan Glazer's UNDER THE SKIN. You may recall one of Glazer's previous works, SEXY BEAST, which I liked fine, but bears no resemblance to Under the Skin at all.

Let me get this out of the way first and foremost.  The only thing Under the Skin is known for, three years after its release, is that yes - Scarlett Johansson is all kinds of naked in it.  It's true, and yes, it's her and not a double.  HOW-EVAH - you must pay a price for that... I'll say no more.  You can thank me/scream at me later.

If you're more of a "film" fan than a "movie" fan, you may or may not get what I mean when I say Under the Skin has the look and feel of something directed by the eye of Stanley Kubrick with an occasional harrowing yet seamless interruption by classic-era David Lynch.  It is simple, yet original.  If you have to have a lot of story (which I generally do), you make not like it so much...it is simultaneously easy to follow yet difficult to understand exactly what the hell is going on - or more specifically WHY.

Obviously I'm having a rough time describing it, which is kind of refreshing to me - an admitted cynic who is RARELY surprised or engrossed by movies these days.

There is one moment/shot in this movie that truly and legitimately startled me, and if you knew me - you'd know how rare that is.  It just never happens.  It's a moment that, had I been using any mind-altering substance at the time - I'm pretty sure I would have just physically turned inside-out.

As I have said to the ONE other person I know that has seen this movie, the best way I can put my feelings about it is summed up with "I think I liked it?"  Not exactly a ringing endorsement, I know.  But for me, this was unusual and at times visually-striking enough to stick with me for a while.  There are lots of movies I'd say I "liked more" but didn't stick with me, if that makes any sense.

I also wholeheartedly give the score five out of five starts.  It's atmospheric, haunting, at times so perfectly minimalist.  It also has elements of old-school horror film scores, mixed with the synthesized-sexuality of Vangelis, but also the macabre foreboding of Angelo Badalamenti.  Those are two film score geniuses, so it's meant to be high praise and not any sort of accusation of Mica Levi's score being overly-derivative.

Watch the trailer below, if you're so inclined - but ignore the line about "...an heir to Kubrick" as that is complete and utter nonsense despite my comparison above.  That mold is forever shattered with St. Stanley!

With that, S.N.O.T. is open for business. Chat about whatever's on your mind, within community guidelines, on this Saturday evening.