Sunday, June 29, 2014

Under The Skin

Director: Jonathan Glazer
With: Scarlett Johansson

First of all, Under The Skin's movie poster is sublime that I almost didn't want to destroy it by putting Plums below it. But that's my thing, even I feel sorry for it. Second, I am amazed by Scarlett Johansson's choices in roles lately. In 2013, she had two unique characters in Her as Samantha and Don Jon as Barbara Sugarman in which she nailed both of the characters so well. At least in my book, where both characters made my Top 60 Best Characters and the latter entered my list of Top 10 Best Supporting Actress Performances. :3 

I guess it helps that she's Charlotte in my favorite film of all time. ;) Plus, she's freaking ScarJo.

In Under the Skin, she portrays yet another challenging and unique role. This time, she's an alien seductress who targets men in Scotland while being monitored by another alien who has the body of a motorcyclist. And just when I thought her amazing imitation of a New Jersey girl was sort of a fluke because she's not that known to doing those kind of acting, here she speaks with a European accent and I thought she's great.

But what's most impressive to me is Jonathan Glazer's direction. I've read so much about the techniques Glazer used in this movie prior to watching so when I finally got to see it in action and execution, it made me more dazzled. The fact that most of the characters were played by non-actors and many of the dialogues are unscripted, and they all worked so well? That's a true achievement in filmmaking because the luring of ScarJo's character actually requires some amount of flirtations. It became so much more genuine by choosing non-actors while being shot in hidden cameras and it worked quite well in this. I thought that part was genius.

I also like its gloomy cinematography and the score was hauntingly iconic, but overall it's also quite dragging because the buildup was so slow albeit necessary to the film. With a title like Under The Skin, I expected ScarJo's character to reveal her true self/color midway through the film with a climax that's super astounding. Unfortunately, the reveal was the climax itself and also the ending, so I had to wait for the whole movie to progress before seeing the scene I was looking for ever since the film began. The wait is long but I can say that it's also worth it.

It's not too shabby because the buildup may be too slow, but ScarJo's commanding presence both herself and her character engaged me to continue. Not to mention, aside from Matchpoint and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, I consider this as one of her sexiest to date. She bared a lot of skin here.

I guess it's my fault that I came into watching it with some expectations. I should just be thankful that it's not like Jennifer's Body where ScarJo morphs into an ugly monster from time to time in the film. In this film, the portrayal of the alien story was made with such delicacy and style and that's something I appreciate about it.

This is such a different and artistic take on an alien film that it reminds me of Only Lovers Left Alive to vampires. I still consider this a must-see because it's edgy, haunting, sexy and a true work of art. But if you're short in patience, then I don't know. I guess you should still see it for some ScarJo sexiness.