UNDER THE SKIN
(Directed by Janathan Glazer, 2014)
(**** out of 5)
> There is a beautiful, seductive alien taking to the streets of Glasgow, stalking men to lure back to her lair and… oh, I can’t bear to even think of what she really wants from these victims of desire!
Men of Scotland! If a lusciously attractive vixen who looks a lot like Scarlet Johansson beckons you to her car for a chat, run like hell in the other direction!!
. There are long segments in this film where little happens, as we watch the absolutely phenomenal Ms. Johansson cruise the streets to a strange, trance-inducing soundtrack, scouting for potential prey. Fortunately for the men of Scotland, they aren’t as easy to lure away as one might think. Some politely answer her questions, or even accept a lift from her without taking the bait that suggests they could go back to her place and take their relationship to a whole new level. But, thinking with their genitalia or under the spell of crushing loneliness, a few unlucky men convince themselves of the impossible: that this amazing specimen of breathtaking female pulchritude would actually be interested in a casual sexual encounter with them.
. Oh, she wants an encounter all right. And the encounter these men receive… once seen cannot be unseen. The image haunts my imagination. It is both repulsive and fascinating. I had to do something I just never do: pause the action, rewind, and look at the very thing that repulsed me, again.
. As an appreciator of great female beauty, I found it very easy to watch this gorgeous actress cavort in various stages of undress. This brave actress invites our ogling in a wonderful scene where, growing more comfortable in her human skin, she ogles her own naked body, front to back in a full length mirror, marveling at the wonders of the human organism. And by extension, seeing ourselves as an alien might- in a whole new light, we marvel along with her. This woman IS an extraordinary specimen of female humanity! And clothes or no clothes, she gives a performance that seduces us just as much as she seduced her hapless victims- though thankfully in a different way.
. Director Jonathan Glazer (BIRTH, SEXY BEAST) has delivered a masterpiece of mood, mystery and suspense that borders on the experimental. Reviewers around the world may have struggled to avoid exploiting the obvious opportunity of the title to review the film, but I’m not proud. I’ll say that UNDER THE SKIN is a film that gets under the skin like an alien virus and believe me, you want to be infected!
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