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Under The Skin [Blu-ray + Digital]

2.4 out of 5 stars 5,714 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From visionary director Jonathan Glazer (SEXY BEAST, BIRTH) comes a stunning career transformation, a masterpiece of existential science fiction that journeys to the heart of what it means to be human, extraterrestrial -- or something in between. A voluptuous woman of unknown origin (Scarlett Johansson) combs the highways in search of isolated or forsaken men, luring a succession of lost souls into an otherworldly lair. They are seduced, stripped of their humanity, and never heard from again. Based on the novel by Michel Faber (The Crimson Petal and the White), UNDER THE SKIN examines human experience from the perspective of an unforgettable heroine who grows too comfortable in her borrowed skin, until she is abducted into humanity with devastating results.

Product Details

  • Actors: Scarlett Johansson
  • Directors: Jonathan Glazer
  • Writers: Jonathan Glazer, Walter Campbell
  • Producers: James Wilson, Nick Wechsler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2014
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5,714 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00K0MM4AM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,875 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
I'd heard various reactions to this film before watching it, some very positive, some negative, both commenting on how confusing and strange it was. David Lynch's 'Eraserhead' was the most popular comparison. While I think any attempts at comparison are going to fall well short of the mark, I'll say that 'Under the Skin' is a slow-burning SF-Horror film that's closer to Kubrick's meditative pace on '2001', with the realistic, semi-improvised dialogue of Gus Van Sant's 'Elephant' and 'Gerry'.

{**SPOILERS**}
Scarlett Johanssen plays one of two aliens who has taken human form. Just how alien they are cannot be fully appreciated until the second or third 'seduction'. After picking up a stranger in her non-descript van, she brings him to a dilapidated rural house. Leading her would-be suitor into utter blackness, she leaves a trail of clothes behind as she undresses; the unfortunate victim stumbles forward, oblivious to the impossible metamorphosis of the floor beneath his feet as he sinks into the black, like a sabertooth tiger chasing its' prey into a tar pit. Fully submerged in a viscous, translucent oil, other figures are visible... and so is she, somehow walking across the surface meters above. In a particularly haunting moment, two victims try to make sense of what's happened to them, and reach out to clasp hands in desperation, before one of them implodes in a shockingly violent manner that leaves nothing but his skin behind, like a discarded wrapper.

The black liquid is the alien life-form, 'digesting' humans and absorbing their consciousness along with their bodies. With each instance, she becomes more and more human. From an insectoid disregard for human suffering, she eventually appears to take pity on one of her would-be victims, letting him free.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
[some spoilers ahead after the first paragraph]

Not entirely original, but original enough in one way: Jonathan Glazer attempts to place us in the point-of-view of a truly alien intelligence. Cinema's humanoid aliens -- "Starman", the New Agey weirdos in "Cocoon", among others -- usually tend more toward human than alien. They fall in love, they drink wine, they eat. They're like spaced-out exchange students. Despite Scarlett Johansson's exquisite (and I mean exquisite) exterior, she barfs up a piece of tempting chocolate cake after attempting a bite. No humanoid she. She sits in her van stone-faced, alert in the manner of a one-track-minded insect, on the lookout for unattached males who might not be missed all that much. Once she snares her quarry, she takes the man to a dumpy flat and slowly walks away at a distance, shedding her clothes piece by piece. Her victims always follow (duh), also shedding their clothes, not realizing that the floor beneath their feet has turned into black goo. They eventually sink into the goo, expectant John Thomases and all. Forever disappointed. :(

The film's narrative is split in two. The first half deals with Johansson luring her victims into the harvesting pool of goo. We watch her drive around, accompanied by an assisting alien on a motorcycle (amazing driving through bad Highlands weather by road racer Jeremy McWilliams), wondering what she and her fellow aliens want with us. We're chilled by the lack of emotion and the endless routine. We're also a little bored by it. Glazer used no real-life actors other than Johansson; the fellows were local Glasgow guys who must've thought they had died and gone to heaven, talking to Scarlett Johansson, or at least her lookalike, in a van.
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Format: Amazon Video
First off, if you like how Michael Bay will have a character yell "Something exploded!" after something explodes because, y'know, you need that kind of exposition, you will not like this movie. There's hardly any dialog and very little plot and almost no "action." Second, if you've read the book, you will also probably not like the movie because it isn't a book. It's an adaptation, and a really loose one at that. The focus is on the imagery and eerie soundtrack to evoke an alien sent to Earth to hunt humans for meat that's sent back to her home planet. The subtexts about class inequality and sexual politics aren't there, so don't bother complaining about how this apple isn't an orange. So if you're looking for a narrative with a clear arc and plot points and resolution, or a shot-for-shot remake of the book, yeah, you're gonna hate this. But if you're into artsy, ambiguous European movies with beautiful cinematography and evocative soundtracks and nudity, you might have a good time. Or you might be bored out of your skull. It's tedious and beautiful and boring and lingers with you in the same way "2001" does.
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Format: Blu-ray
Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first: Yes, Scarlett Johansson is nude in this film. She is fully frontal nude. Ok, post-pubescent testosterone-driven audiences, go on the internet and find screen caps and then go see TRANSFORMERS for a fifth time, because if that's why you're watching this film, you're going to be one of the haters.

However, if you're in the mood to see a proto-sci-fi film about the allegorical birth, life and death of an unearthly being in a very Kubrickian fashion, UNDER THE SKIN should be a perfect fit for you.

As directed by Jonathan Glazer (SEXY BEAST, BIRTH) the film follows our protagonist, as played by Johansson, as she travels around the Scottish countryside in a white van to seduce men and abduct them for what seem to be extremely nefarious and alien reasons. Almost all of the seduction scenes are set against a completely black backdrop as the men sink into a black abyss all while she's protected and guided by a mysterious motorcyclist. She meets a terribly disfigured young man, and suddenly, this emotionless sexual predator starts to feel things that make no sense to her; feelings like compassion and mercy. This leads her off her mission and into the presence of another man who takes her in, not understanding who she is or what she's capable of. The film ends in on a very strange, almost TWILIGHT ZONE-esque note which is disturbing, but makes a perverted sort of sense when you think about it.

Those who may have read the book might be very upset by this film as it seems to be, at least thematically, quite different. The film is very much about birth, life and death in both a very figurative and literal way.
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