I shall be taking a penetrating shot at Under the Skin, scratching more than its surface to expose all of its layers in order to see if its beauty is in the eye of the beholder or only skin deep. So read on only if you’ve already seen Under the Skin, or don’t plan to.
NOTE: Under the Skin shows quit a lot of it, actually, so the following review contains images that are NSFW. Please stop reading if seeing people’s naked bits upsets you. You’ve been warned.
Under the Skin is the story of an alien (Scarlett Johansson) who inhabits a human woman’s skin. With the help of fellow aliens on motorcycles, she seduces men and brings them back to her house. Once there, her victims are swallowed by a black goo and their meat is sent back to the alien planet for food. After picking up a man disfigured by neurofibromatosis, the alien has a change of heart and sets him free. One of the motorcyclists chases him down and kills him, while Scarlett runs away and meets a gentle man in a rural village. After expirimenting with human food and sex, she hikes alone in a forest where a ranger attacks her. While tearing off her clothes, he tears her skin and reveals the alien beneath. Shocked, he douses her with petrol and sets her on fire.
Now you can sit back and enjoy my review in peace.
0:02:36 A white light that plays bad violin music is meant to represent what, an alien embryo? ET = Eggstra Terrestrial.
0:03:41 The alien is learning how to speak, but it just sounds like Scarlett Johansson practising her alphabet.
0:04:23 An iris floating in milk. “I don’t like the look of this milk, Midge.”
0:6:42 A motorcyclist picks up a woman’s corpse that another alien used as a shell. The motorcyclist is an alien in a male’s body (been there done that, trust me).
0:07:14 Al K Hall nudity alert: A naked Scarlett Johansson is undressing the cadaver, in a room of white light. The only thing missing to make this intellectual is bad violin music.
0:11:13 Scarlett Alien goes to a shopping centre. This explains a lot of the people I see there on Saturdays.
0:12:28 Now she’s in her van, window shopping for men in the street.
0:13:49 Looks as though she’s found one in her size and colour. Unfortunately, he’s no longer available.
0:17:04 She picks up an electrician with whom she ought to be able to hook up.
0:17:43 Now, later, she’s driving alone. No way of knowing what happened to the electrician, and whether or not they made a connection.
0:18:18 WTF!? Another rejection? Only in Scotland could Scarlett Johansson have so much difficulty bumping uglies.
0:20:44 Inside a totally black room with mirrored black floor, a new bloke gets naked (a little too hooligan for me, but nice buns) and walks into the black water that Scarlett is walking on top of. She’s a sort of Venus fly trap, luring men in and killing them.
0:27:52 And the WTF!? abounds. A local woman jumps into the ocean wearing a heavy coat (the water must be cold) to rescue her dog. So the husband goes in after her. As does the handsome Czech bloke in a wet suit that Scarlett was chatting up. He brings the husband back to shore, but the husband returns to the sea for his wife. The Czech lad collapses in the surf so Scarlett can kill him with a rock and drag his corpse across the pebbles, in front of the baby that the man and wife abandoned on the beach in favour of their dog.
0:29:36 That night, the motorcycle alien swings by and picks up the Czech’s tent and ignores the crying infant alone on the beach. The motorcyclist walks away and the tyke stops crying long enough to shoot him a look of total WTF!?
0:33:42 Scarlett gets swept like white trash into a dance club where she lets a desperate lad in a shirt as cheap as his cologne chat her up.
0:34:22 Back to the black room where the local boy looks a lot better out of his cheap clothes as he walks into the black water wearing his hard-on, and not his sleeve.
0:37:43 Once in the black liquid, our chap’s insides are sucked out like oysters on the half shell, leaving his skin to float about like a scarf in the wind. This is absolutely one of the worst ways to lose an erection.
0:38:40 The innards are then sent on a sort of cosmic conveyor belt back to the home star. Disassembly line.
0:44:45 Motorcycle alien from the beginning gives Scarlett a literal once over as though deciding if she’s still good to ride, then leaves her without so much as a tune up or test drive. He pays special attention to her eyes, as that’s how he can verify she’s still an alien (see my note at 04:23). Turns out Under the Skin is The Host for intellectuals.
0:45:47 She falls to the pavement and looks as though she’s either breaking down or having one.
0:47:11 Her eyes go black, like like my soul watching Apartment 1303. This moment is when she first feels a touch human.
0:52:34 She picks up a beautifully disfigured man – Adam Pearson – and this exchange will be the most touching scene in the film.
0:58:11 WTF is that black skeletal beastie? Ah, it’s the alien in its natural form.
0:59:27 Al K Hall nudity alert. Scarlett Johansson is naked while the disfigured bloke (also naked) walks deeper and deeper into the black liquid. This entire sequence with Adam is really quite masterful.
1:02:27 Instead of letting him die in the black muck like the others, Scarlett sets Adam free. In good consciousness. He walks out the back door of the house, and is now walking naked through the fields outside the city. Perhaps Scarlett is breaking out of her mould, like a Venus fly trap growing a heart.
1:03:54 Motorcycle alien goes to the back garden of the house where Adam is climbing through the fence. He throws Adam in the boot of a car he finds there and kills the poor lad. Maybe the old bird in the window of the neighbouring house can look after his motorcycle while he drives away with Adam’s body.
1:04:22 Beautiful scenery. In the book this is meant to show the difference between the alien’s planet and our pretty one.
Isserley spends her spare time walking on the pebbled beach by her cottage, marveling at the beauty of Earth compared to her home world where most beings are forced to live and toil underground, and the wealthy Elite live on the surface, but still unable to tolerate being outside.
From the Wikipedia page, Under the Skin (novel)
1:07:59 Scarlett is at a small restaurant in the mountains looking like a runaway, which she is, as she’s run away from her home – planet.
1:08:55 She discovers how to eat people food, and not just people. Then she learns how to spit up her food on the plate. Have you ever seen anyone eat cake in super slow motion? Trust me, you know what you’re missing.
1:12:35 A good Samaritan bloke meets her on a bus, gives her his coat and takes her shopping for food, then back to his house where they watch telly in silence and then don’t sleep together. So, basically, they’re already married. [British comic Tommy Cooper is on the telly. TIL he died of a heart attack while performing on ‘live’ television. You’ll hate yourself if you verify this on YouTube.]
1:15:48 WTF!? He invites her there because on the bus she said she needed help, but he doesn’t ask her anything after that? Like why she doesn’t eat? Or why she doesn’t speak? Or how far does she go on the first date?
1:17:12 Al K Hall nudity alert. Scarlett Johansson standing naked, including her nether region (to develop pubic awareness), by the red light of a heater. This is one way to make her look hot to a gay man.
1:18:46 Motorcycle alien enlists the aid of two helpers to track down Scarlett. Three helmets are better than one.
1:21:04 An alien that’s afraid of heights. A lofty concept.
1:24:28 Scarlett lets her Samaritan get in touch with her: using his penis. She jumps to the edge of the bed in a panic when she experiences her first orgasm. Fortunately, most women will never know this problem.
1:36:34 Scarlett hikes alone in the woods and decides to take a nap in a bothy. While she’s asleep, a park ranger rubs her leg and causes her to awake with a start. She bolts into the forest, but he catches up with her. Then, as he’s ripping off her clothes to rape her, he accidentally tears off some of her skin, revealing her alien form. The rapist runs away, as he finds beauty is only skin deep.
1:40:10 She takes off her face like a mask…
…before the rapist returns and sets her on fire with petrol.
1:42:28 She collapses in a pile of burnt alien as the snow falls.
- WTF!?’s: Only 2 that got under my skin
- When to Follow: When you hate those movies where things happen. Ideal for a Sunday morning hangover, complete with fap matter.
- What To Feedback: