By Gary Murray

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams and Lynsey Taylor Mackay

Written by Walter Campbell

Directed by Jonathan Glazer          

Running time 108 min

MPAA Rating R

Selig Film Rating: Get out your torches!


Many people do not realize this but films are made in just about every country.  Europe, Asia, India and South America all have a vibrant film industry and they churned out millions of works of cinema over the years.  There are action flicks, romantic features and science fiction spectaculars done in other languages.

Russia, especially in the Soviet Era, made science fiction films that were bizarre and obtuse but full of stunning visuals.  In Italy, the film-makers tried to turn science fiction into sexy cinema, with low-cut space uniforms of tight Spandex.  Combine the two and one gets Under the Skin one of the most unusual films to be released in 2014.  Unfortunately it is also one of the worst.

The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien exploring this planet.  When we first see her, she is naked and taking the clothing off a body.  She does not understand the ways of man as she drives around in Scotland.  In her mini-van, she approaches different men.  Eventually she seduces them to go to her lair.  There, the men walk toward the naked woman, sinking into black ooze.  Like a naturalist collecting butterfly specimens, the alien seems to be collecting humans for some scientific reason.

The film has the alien (no names are given to any character) traveling throughout Scotland, taking in raves and other uniquely Earth-bound pleasures.  The more the alien tries to understand mankind, the more the alien proves that they do not truly comprehend the complexities of human existence.  It drags along to an event that one expects almost from the first frame.

This film will be known for only one thing.  It is the first blatant frontal nudity scenes with the young actress Scarlett Johansson.  In more than one instance, she shows just about everything that God had given to her.  It is a bold choice for Miss Johansson and a waste.  The only people who will be entertained by this flick are those who live at the website Mr. Skin.

Under the Skin is easily the most boring film of the year. Director Jonathan Glazer is the man behind Sexy Beast and Birth but this flick has none of the passion of those works.  The film meanders from scene to scene without and sense of urgency.   The film mixes real actors and non-actors in different roles and the non-actors definitely drag down the pros.  On more than one occasion, it is just a painful experience to endure this flick.

Another problem is in the cinematography.  The entire work is subdued and bland, never giving the lushness that is Scotland.  Making such an ugly film is just another wrong aspect of the work.

I would rather have a root canal than be subjected to another screening of Under the Skin.  This is a film that will be lost by most movie patrons and only those who crave the truly unusual will find anything to admire in this work. 

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