REVIEW — “Under the Skin”
“Under the Skin” is the art house version of “Species,” but it’s also 80 minutes too long. With a runtime of 108 minutes long there isn’t enough substance to justify this being anything more than a 20 minute short film, and it would have run better had it been.
Considering there is really only one person ever doing anything in this, Scarlett Johansson, it doesn’t make sense that they would suck away what people enjoy about her acting. They took away all of her charm and charisma, bundled her up to take away her ability to use body language, and gave her boring lines to spew out unenthusiastically. I understand she is meant to be less than human (I’m not sure where spoiler territory is on this one), but if she is the only lead you have to give her something more to do than put clothes on/off (they don’t even show much skin!!!) and say a few deadpan lines.
The writing is weak, and recycles the same shtick over and over again: Go out, Find a guy, Sex them, (Deleted for spoiler), and Repeat. While there were a few ‘intense’ moments that happened they are almost considered background and never talked about or touched on again. There is a scene where some lady swims out in the ocean to rescue her dog, then a guy swims out to rescue her, and none of them return again leaving a baby abandoned on a beach shore. Normally I wouldn’t reveal this, but it means ALMOST NOTHING to the plot outside of showing us she is cold to human emotion (which was already shown before). Things don’t start to get interesting until the last 15 minutes which makes the first 90 minutes setup that could have been done in 10.
There were some cool visuals that they used to show people having sex instead of just SHOWING sex, and I commend them for that, but it isn’t enough to save this dull terd of a flick. The blaring out-of-place music is only memorable due to how annoying it seemed (for me it was like hearing the “Insidious” screeching title music for 80 minutes). There were also prolonged sequences of silence which were meant to add a false intensity to an otherwise dull film, and they just come off as boring and tacky (much like in the overrated flick “Drive”).
As a whole “Under the Skin” doesn’t deserve nearly the praise it is receiving (much like “American Hustle” last year). It appears to be the type of situation where enough people have hyped it so that if you don’t like it you are the odd one, but really this is an art house film that is way too long. Some people look at the mangled remains of a bicycle hit by a train as garbage (like I do), but other people will see it as art. This film is that bicycle. 2/5