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Dark, defeaning and absolutely stunning with an absolutely shattering performance by Scarlett Johansson and drowned in cinematic bliss, "Under The Skin" is a unique, lingering, manipulative beautiful nightmare.
Jonathan Glazer gives a different and ambiguous type of horror movie that easily disturbs and unsettles with its unique and magnificent score by Mica Levi, gut-wrenching scenes and happenings, hypnotizing imagery, and a haunting Scarlett Johansson performance. Under The Skin utilizes its brilliant concept to the fullest, demanding a specific type of audience while prooving there are great routes to the horror genre. It also demands to be discussed due to its profound hidden themes, which meaning may vary depending on how the person views the film. In conclusion, Under The Skin is a bold, unique, and hard to forget expirience that the more you think about it, the more it rewards.
This is in my top ten movies from 2010-2019. The plot is simple enough if you really think about it. It’s just emotionally engaging, I did not expect to love this movie as much as I did, however the film had this ominous effect on the viewer. That feeling sticks, and leaves you feeling that you want to watch it again and again.
Ridiculous, "artistic" obtuse, meaningless, annoying, faux deep
Co-written and directed by Jonathan Glazer adapting a novel by Michel Faber which after watching it is reminiscent of the Scarlett Johanson's equivalent of "The Man Who Fell To Earth" in which an alien being comes to earth while wearing another human being disguise as she continues to graze down the streets looking for other potential victims, consistently of mostly men.
Stupid, pointless, hardly sci-fi, crappy ending.
In 1975, Laura Mulvey released her famous/infamous paper on the male gaze in cinema. In essence, Mulvey suggested that cinema relates to the Freudian concept of scopophilia, which is the act of gaining sexual pleasure by looking upon someone. For Mulvey, since the film business is largely dominated by men, the act of cinema relates to closely to this Freudian concept as movies, especially during the classical period, presented women as nothing but sexual objects under the male gaze. Thus, cinema for Mulvey was a medium for men to experience scopophilia as women were represented simply for the pleasure of males. Although the inception of this idea was in the 1970s, Mulvey's theory still has relevance as we are still constantly seeing how females are presented in this manner. However, would what happen if this concept was imagined in a different way? What would happen if the male gaze was turned into a disconcerting nightmare? What would happen if these desirable women actually lead to unimaginable fears? Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin answers all these questions by flipping the traditional idea of the male gaze on it heads and turning it into a frightening, unforgettable cinematic vision.
In subverting Mulvey's idea, the casting of Scarlett Johansson was genius. When you think of the history of cinema, especially from the 90s to recent blockbusters, the way that Scarlett Johansson has been presented over the years epitomizes Mulvey's notion of women and their relationship to the male gaze. For instance, in the famous opening shot of Lost in Translation, the very first thing that we see is Johansson's behind through invisible panties. Despite not being intentionally sexual, it wouldn't be a hyperbole to say that this individual frame would of featured in the sexual fantasies of many older and younger men. Moreover, who could forget the "money shot" of the first Avengers where a low angle is clearly used to show off Johnasson's ass-sets in black tights. Given the examples, the genius of Glazer's film is that it takes the way that Johansson has been historically represented under the male gaze and turns into something completely sinister.
Glazer's experiment with this classical concept is largely contributed from the plot. Even though a lot of the narrative details are open for viewer interpretation, it's apparent that an alien life form (Johansson), which uses human bodies as a host to cover its alien features, has been sent from another planet to murder young, single males. As the narrative progresses, the alien lures its victims, by using the attractiveness of its human exterior, to its other-worldly 'house' and banishes them to what seems to be a black void. Through these passages, the male gaze is well and truly present as we watch Johansson get undressed for our scopophilia pleasure; however, the fundamental difference here in comparison to the previous ways that Johansson has been viewed under the male gaze is that what was once pleasure, is now horrific. Rather than the female body simply existing for scopophilia reasons, the very thing we once desired, at least from a heterosexual point of view, has been turned to something terrifying; something that can lead to our own demise. This is the genius of Under the Skin is that it takes a body that the world has fantasied about. A body that has undeniably been the subject of many sexual fantasies and taints it, turning what was once somebody that we associate with sexual pleasure into a unsettling vision of how desire and death are explicitly linked.
Considering that Under the Skin shares many connections to Mulvey's theory and that one of Mulvey's key examples was Alfred Hitchcock, then it is not surprising that Glazer's sci-fi is very similar to Hitchcock directional style. In particular, the way that Hitchcock could create an unnerving atmosphere with the use of voyeurism. Time and time again, Hitchcock would take places that we associate with safety such as schools, public areas, the bathroom and place them under the voyeuristic gaze of the villain. By doing this, Hitchcock instantly associates fear with places that we usually think of as being safe havens. This was the creative power of Hitchcock's horror because as an audience, we associate fear with these relatable contexts in our own life, thinking that they are under the watchful eyes of a voyeuristic murderer. For instance, after watching Psycho, there's no way that you can possibly have a shower without thinking someone is watching. Just like Hitchcock's films, Glazer continuously positions the camera from the perspective of the alien in public places; places where we should feel safe but due to the voyeuristic gaze of the villain, the atmosphere is unbearable and riddled with anxiety. Apart from the voyeuristic gaze, Mica Levi score is a masterpiece of disconcerting anxiety; the musical equivalent of an axe screeching against a cold, hard metal sheet. With slow drum patterns and overpowering violins that would break any glass surface, Levi's score achieves it's purpose. And when the voyeuristic elements combine with Levi's music, Under the Skin truly lives up to its title.
Like all sci-fi, the setting and location is essential to the subject matter. Since the content of the Under the Skin is highly disturbing, brutal and just an overall feeling of coldness, the choice of the Scotland's urban areas and beautiful coastlines perfectly matches the brutality of the films content. Even though some of these locations are astonishing and Glazer captures some beautiful natural moments, the overall atmosphere that these images create is the feeling of something that is bone-chilling; a coldness so brutal that it'll cut through any warmth. As suggested, this scenery matches the internal state of the alien during the first half of the film. Before she goes on her journey of self-discovery, she has no empathy or sympathy for humans, just a cold, mute being that will kill humans without any hesitation. For example, this relationship between the natural landscape and the being is captured in one of the most dour scenes ever committed to the celluloid.
From the distance, the alien watches what is both a human folly/human tragedy as it witnesses both the drowning of a dog and a mother after they are caught in a rip. As the father desperately tries to swim out to save both of them while their child lays on the beach screaming, an onlooker swims out to save the father who will also drown if he has no assistance. After saving the father, the onlooker lays on the beach, desperately attempting to get his breath back. While this is all going on, the being picks up a rock and violently bashes the onlookers head in, seemingly murdering him just after he saved the father. Concurrently, the father begins swimming back out to sea in some desperate bid to bring back his wife and although his fate may never be shown, it's a certainty that he died along with the rest of his family. If this wasn't depressing enough, the final shot of this passage is the baby on the beach. Left alone, screaming and stranded as the tide slowly comes up, obviously eluding to its eventual death. Essentially, this whole passage serves as a metaphor for the beings apathy; it's emotional mute state and the natural location, which is the the cold, brutal coastline of Scotland, flawlessly matches the otherness and coldness of the central antagonist.
There might not be any explicit violence or any potential, devastating worldly outcomes that we may see in other sci-fi films; nevertheless, Under the Skin may be one of the most disturbing sci-fi's ever created which it is achieves through all the things that make great horror: intelligent direction, unforgettable imagery and a unrelenting, nerve-racking score.
am so convinced rotten tomato critics are all o n drugs .how can they give that movie a 85% ..It was awful made no sense..dont waste your time with this one ..
Scarlett Johansson has absolutely no fear in her film choices.
Stupid movie. I'll never get that 1hr 43mins back