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Under the Skin

7/10
Drama . Science Fiction . Thriller . Sci-Fi
 

Jonathan Glazer's atmospheric, visually arresting abstraction stars Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien who prowls the streets of Glasgow in search of prey: unsuspecting men who fall under her spell, only to be consumed by a strange liquid pool.

 
Actors: Lynsey Taylor Mackay , Jeremy McWilliams , Scott Dymond , Michael Moreland , Paul Brannigan , Kryštof Hádek , Scarlett Johansson
Directors: Jonathan Glazer
Country: UK
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Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times

Weird. Brilliant. Stunning. Under the Skin is by far the most memorable movie of the first few months of 2014.


Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com

This stark and intensely controlled film is the work of a powerful visual stylist and storyteller, one who looks like he belongs on the short list of directors who have carried the narrative methods of the silent era deep into modern cinema.


Matt Zoller Seitz
RogerEbert.com

A brilliant science fiction movie — more of an "experience" than a traditional story, with plenty to say about gender roles, sexism and the power of lust?


Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times

Watching this film feels like a genesis moment — of sci-fi fable, of filmmaking, of performance — with all the ambiguity and excitement that implies.


Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice

Very little in Under the Skin is clear at all. Its secrets unspool in mysterious, supple ribbons, but that's part of its allure, and its great beauty.


Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine

Throughout, what truly matters to director Jonathan Glazer is articulating through visual and aural enticement the unconscious power of our death drive.


Andrew Lowry
Total Film

You may not be sure what you've seen, but you've sure seen something. With neither a petticoat nor a wideboy in sight, this is one of the most original and exciting British movies in some time.


Dave Calhoun
Time Out London

It’s an intoxicating marvel, strange and sublime: it combines sci-fi ideas, gloriously unusual special effects and a sharp atmosphere of horror.


Robbie Collin
The Telegraph

Glazer’s astonishing film takes you to a place where the everyday becomes suddenly strange, and fear and seduction become one and the same.


Xan Brooks
The Guardian

Under the Skin is perhaps best viewed as an icy parable of love, sex and loneliness.


Steve Persall
Tampa Bay Times

There's something fairly malignant in the way Glazer's strange movie holds attention, against the urge to give up and leave. There is no doubting its boundless artistry or pretension, a dangerous position for any movie in today's love-me pop culture to place itself in. Under the Skin is exactly where it gets.


A.A. Dowd
The A.V. Club

Under The Skin is rich with menacing atmosphere, so much so that viewers could probably tune out the narrative and still get on the proper wavelength.


Anthony Lane
The New Yorker

Glazer is nothing if not ambitious; the rough edge of naturalism, on the streets, slices into the more controlled and stylized look of science fiction, and the result seems both to drift and to gather to a point of almost painful intensity.


Dan Kois
Slate

Actors aren’t Navy SEALs, I know, but Johansson was, in fact, brave to take on this role: brave in that it’s a sharp left turn from what audiences expect or even like; brave in that she embraced an artistically bold method of building a movie when most other movie stars would have said no thanks to the idea of chatting up random Scotsmen in a van.


Stephen Holden
The New York Times

The movie’s eerie, climactic image challenges our conventional notions of human identity and leaves us reflecting on the possibility that every being in the universe is an alien in disguise.


Noel Murray
The Dissolve

The extraordinary achievement of Under The Skin is that while Laura develops some human qualities, Glazer resists the temptation to turn this alien’s story into the story of what it means to be human.


Marc Savlov
Austin Chronicle

What makes Under the Skin such a mind-blower has everything to do with Johansson’s chillingly unempathetic turn as the, well, whatever she is, coupled with cinematographer Daniel Landin’s disorienting, hallucinogenic visuals.


Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

A deeply creepy and mysterious noir.


Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune

It feels fresh and unpredictable, as quietly strange as the remarkable musical score from first-time feature film composer Mica Levi.


Ann Hornaday
Washington Post

With long, quiet takes in which he simply observes Johansson wordlessly taking in the world around her, Glazer infuses the everyday modern world with a surpassing sense of strangeness and doom.


Ty Burr
Boston Globe

What’s under the film’s surface is intriguing enough, but it’s the surface itself that holds you in a dark trance. A portrait of alienation filmed from the alien’s point of view — or is it just a woman’s? — the movie’s a cinematic Rubik’s Cube that snaps together surprisingly easily, yet whose larger meanings remain tantalizingly out of reach.


Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

A brave experiment in cinema that richly rewards the demands it makes. The result is an amazement, a film of beauty and shocking gravity.


Lawrence Toppman
Charlotte Observer

Virtually all science fiction functions as metaphor, and I took this film to be a metaphor for the act of becoming fully human.


Eric Kohn
indieWIRE

A totally wacky head-trip with midnight movie sensibilities and a daring avant garde spirit, Glazer's movie is ultimately too aimlessly weird to make its trippy narrative fully satisfying, but owes much to Johansson's intense commitment to a strangely erotic and unnerving performance unlike anything she has done before.


Chris Willman
The Playlist

Johannson turns out to be perfectly cast, being able to shift from blank alien mode to kittenish seduction without ever letting you see the switch being turned on or off.


William Goss
Film.com

Under the Skin is a deliberately oblique piece of work that prizes rhythms and textures above hows and whys.


Mike Scott
New Orleans Times-Picayune

Under the Skin is, in short, a film that does just that: gets under one's skin, shining a light on what it means to be human -- even if what we end up seeing is something less than comforting.


Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic

Yes, Glazer asks a lot of his audience. At times the movie feels like something you've walked in to the middle of, so you're thrown off balance. Yet it's hypnotic — you want to stick around to see what happens, and maybe just to figure out what the hell is going on.


Roger Moore
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Under the Skin isn’t conventional, thrilling or particularly satisfying in a sci-fi aliens-are-hunting-us sense. But it manages something far more sinister and fascinating. It gets under your skin and imprints on your memory.


James Berardinelli
ReelViews

It's as existential as a sci-fi/horror film can possibly be. It requires that the viewer slip into a meditative mood and remain there for more than 90 minutes.


David Edelstein
New York Magazine (Vulture)

At times the film is right on the border between mesmerizing and narcotizing, but it casts an otherworldly spell.


Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

Much of this is fascinating, as far as it goes, but it wouldn't go as far as it does into drama were it not for Ms. Johansson's wonderfully strange performance.


Liam Lacey
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

All this is initially fascinating, and then progressively less so. The problem is the usual serial-killer issue – things, no matter how weird and kinky, get repetitive.


Nev Pierce
Empire

Odd and sexy, troubling and touching, frustrating and mesmerising, dull and haunting. A film by Jonathan Glazer.


Todd McCarthy
The Hollywood Reporter

More pictorially arresting than intellectually coherent.


Chris Nashawaty
Entertainment Weekly

As a film, Under the Skin is hauntingly freaky and ultimately frustrating. But as a movie star's gamble to be seen as more than just a moneymaking member of the Marvel universe, it's a home run.


Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle

Under the Skin can be confused for a movie that hides its meanings, when it's really a movie that hides its meaninglessness.


Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News

There’s atmosphere here, but nothing else.


Scott Foundas
Variety

Glazer has always been longer on atmosphere and uncanny moods than on narrative, but the fatal flaw of Under the Skin isn’t that not much happens; it’s that what does happen isn’t all that interesting.


Richard Corliss
Time

Under the Skin falls in love with its bleak monotony. It is a melodrama with all the thrills surgically excised.


Lou Lumenick
New York Post

Tedious and pretentious.


Rex Reed
New York Observer

I certainly wish Ms. Johansson hadn’t shown up at all. She’s never less than interesting to watch, but Under the Skin is a big waste of her time.


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