Friday, December 19, 2014

Under the Skin (United Kingdom, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Under the Skin

1. This is surely the strangest, most beautifully baffling film of 2014. It's visually poetic, existentially stunning, and impossible to describe.  I think it's brilliant and scary, though I don't know why. This is art that cuts below conscious thought and messes around inside you on the human level. It either speaks to you, or it doesn't; it has nothing to do with your intelligence.

2. It kind of has a plot. Scarlett Johansson plays a woman with the personality of an insect who wanders around Scotland, picking up solo men, and... makes things happen to them.

3. The movie is so abstract that it can be interpreted in multiple ways. I think it's supposed to be about some kind of inter-dimensional vampire alien thing. But this is not an action science fiction movie.

4. The movie could also be about a primitive force of nature that both distracts and consumes humanity.

5. Or it could be about the predatory nature of humans, and how men differ from women in what they're after.

6. There's relatively little dialogue in the movie - most of it is visual.  None of the characters even have names. Most of the characters were played by non-actors, and when they do talk, it was mostly unscripted.

7. The scene with Adam Pearson, the guy with neurofibromatosis in real life, stops you cold with its depiction of the unutterable, lonely intimacy of human relations.

8. This is a complete, perfect package of a film. From the surreal acting to the entrancing visuals, and the hauntingly unnerving soundtrack, you either take the whole thing or reject the whole thing.

9. I'm still not sure if the ending is happy or sad. Or if it even matters.