What does Earth look like through the eyes of an alien? If you ever wondered about it, now you have a plausible answer: it looks like Scotland! The language is weird, humanity is mostly friendly and naive, and the views are breathtaking. It’s a cold and lonely place in general, but you will have plenty of opportunity to be on the receiving end of much warmth: especially if you look like a dark-haired and full-lipped Scarlet Johansson. However, the place can have its dangers.
After using only her sexy voice to play an operating system with which Joaquin Phoenix’s character falls deeply in love in the academy award-nominated movie Her, the actress takes on another risky role in director Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. Now she’s nothing less than a predator alien in the shape of a beautiful woman, who spends most of her time driving along desert streets on the hunt for lonely men – who cannot believe their luck! Only, contrary to the preys’s idea, the plan is not sex, but to turn them into ET food.
Under the Skin is not a movie for the masses. It’s slow at times and there’s hardly any dialogue. Just like 2001 a Space Odissey in its day, it does not explain everything you want to know: I guess you would need to read the novel it’s based on to find out all the details. However, Scarlet Johansson has enough star quality to carry the movie on her spotless shoulders. And the viewer will see a lot more than her shoulders, as the movie features a great number of explicit nude scenes.
The plot is also not without flaws, as, in my opinion, the change of the main character from alien predator to traveler open to new experiences and excited about discovering a new world is too sudden. However, the movie lasts the right amount of time, it does not drag and finishes exactly when it should.
It’s worth pointing out, as well, that it portrays one of the most poignant scenes in movie history: an abandoned toddler crying on an amazingly beautiful and desolate beach, waiting for its parents to come back from the sea. In addition to this, the underwater scene which shows men being turned into alien food is also very original.
Kudos to Ms Johansson, who does not play safe or shies away from challenging endeavours. I wonder what her next role will be.