Under the Skin review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
When you think alien invasion you think large spaceships, strange looking aliens and a whole lot of running. This might be because of the many Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay pictures that insist that this is how alien life will present itself to us but by this stage its just what you expect. Under The Skin however is the story of aliens but is a much more personal and quiet story.
The film follows an alien woman (Scarlett Johansson) who roams the streets of Edinburgh picking up lonely men and taking them to be used by her masters. However when she begins to connect with her victims on a personal level she begins to question her role in this plan and what she can possibly get out of it.
While Under The Skin is about a strange force encroaching upon the normal world it is also about everything we keep hidden about ourselves from our personal wants to our sexual desires. While she silently hunts she contemplates where she belongs in this world and her connection to the people living in it but she also seeks something more than the solitary life her mission affords her.
When she finally starts looking for more she learns more about what we shouldn’t want and the things in life that often bring heartbreak and deception. Johansson brings this indecision and fear to life while still accentuating the alien about her. While the visuals prove powerful and vivid the film drags on as it proves hard to truly comprehend the story being told as everything about this woman is a mystery, something we may never figure out.
The film looks into the darkness that surrounds all of us but it rarely makes any kind of comment about leaving viewers to make decisions based on the slim moments of understanding we can glean from this womans life and the darkness she sees along the way. While its all well and good learning about us through the eyes of something new its hard to understand most of the films enigmatic story and it may leave you ever so slightly confused