Under the skin

Under the skin requires the audience to interpret the story and is probably one of the weirdest movie I have seen. This is a rather small movie starring Scarlett Johansson set in Scotland.

Scarlett Johansson is an alien (I think she is an alien…) driving around in a van picking up men in Glasgow. If they’re not alone or are meeting someone, she will often drive off in a hurry. But if they aren’t going anywhere in particular then she’ll give them a lift from her van and will seduce them on the way. What follows seems to be a poetic, visual representation of what is going on. She seduces them and because they’re under some sort of hypnotic spell (or it’s just the thought of having sex with a gorgeous woman) they’re oblivious to their immediate demise. She’s walking backwards facing them, taking off her clothing on the way and the men do the same. Except the more steps they take, the more they sink into some sort of black liquid. All this time they are looking at Scarlett. I told you it’s a very metaphorical movie. It also has very little dialogue and that makes it more intriguing and feel more like a piece of art. I found she never actually undresses too much, it’s always just enough to lure them in. It’s interesting because later on, where a man is doubting his actions, he’s not as convinced to just walk towards her and so she will remove more items of clothing to the point you can see her breasts whereas before, she only undressed to the point of revealing her bra.

I like the scene where we finally see what happens to these men that have been lured by the alien. They are in fact consumed as the general feeling would be – they just suddenly pop! Like all their nutrients, flesh and organs have been consumed. I don’t know whether that was a contrast of the man’s body and mind. His body is screaming the dangers at him but his thoughts are still racing with excitement with the thought of bedding this beautiful woman.

The alien, through her own impending death(?) starts to feels empathetic towards her latest victim. She doesn’t want to feed on these men anymore and decides to let one go. She tries to consume conventional food but chokes and spits it out immediately. It seems she can’t feed like humans can.


There is one scene I found very difficult to watch. A family is at a beach and a child gets in trouble and the mother goes in to help but gets in trouble with the current too and the father jumps in only to be engulfed by the waves. The issue is they’ve left a toddler on the beach. The toddler is crying throughout the scene, staring into the ocean wondering when mummy or daddy will come back. That’s just heart breaking.

There’s a lot of nudity in this movie which I wasn’t expecting and I’m quite surprised that Scarlett Johansson agreed to shoot a full frontal nudity scene in this. I think this was done around the same time as the Avengers movie so she must’ve been gaining a lot of attention during that time. I have respect that she did it for the creative performance and didn’t consider it “below her” so to speak.

I didn’t like the ending. It’s metaphorical that everyone needs help even if you are the predator or high up on the food chain. But do we really need to have an attempted rape to highlight this? I would recommend this movie to people who can enjoy a challenging movie and not everything is spelled out for them.