Author Topic: Under the Skin  (Read 6034 times)

Alan Smithee

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 11:17:37 PM »
The score was really great.

Smiley

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 05:15:19 AM »
I didn't mind filling in the blanks myself and think additional explication within the film would've sapped the mood. I saw the film this afternoon, then read the [basic] plot description on Wikipedia when I got home and found that it tracked exactly with what I understood to be happening.

Oh I agree, I think it's a perfect mood film and any exposition would have completely ruined that.

Osprey

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 02:12:52 PM »
I didn't mind filling in the blanks myself and think additional explication within the film would've sapped the mood. I saw the film this afternoon, then read the [basic] plot description on Wikipedia when I got home and found that it tracked exactly with what I understood to be happening.

Oh I agree, I think it's a perfect mood film and any exposition would have completely ruined that.

Especially because the plot of the novel sounds pretty lame, unless the author is really funny.

oneaprilday

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2014, 12:59:00 PM »
Some random thoughts/questions/observations:

-The woman at the beginning, from whom Scarlett Johansson (I'll just use SJ from here on out) removes the clothing - I took her to be a counterpart of SJ, an alien (?) who had been doing what SJ does in the film until something happened to her and SJ came/was created (?) and took over for her. She wasn't just some random human woman, right? Motorcycle man seemed to know exactly where she was - and she was so beautiful, a superficial resemblance to SJ, with her black hair - I assumed she was part of what they were doing. I like thinking that perhaps she had a similar story arc, one similar to the one SJ takes, beginning as a ruthless kidnapper of men, but then at some point failing, perhaps getting a conscience? The tear, I suppose, is what makes me think that. Anyway, I like thinking of the film as a cycle - the story we see is just part of the continuing, repeating cycle, new women replacing the old ones, whether because they're worn out or gain a conscience or want to be human, I'm not sure.

-The drownings and baby on the beach scene was probably one of the most unbearable things I've seen in a film. It was at that point, as I was feeling physically sick, desperately wanting to "get the baby," that I was thinking first, "it's only a movie it's only a movie it's only a movie" and second, "If this is an indicator of the film, I'm not sure I'll be able to handle this." I can take quite a bit but that . . .   Still, as I've been considering, why was that scene there? Did the film need it? Did I need to suffer in that way? I think, yes, it was necessary.  To say that the scene shows SJ's (and motorcycle man's) total disconnect from the human and from family and that it shows their ruthlessness is part of the answer to why the scene is there, but just that doesn't quite satisfy. I don't want to read metaphor into the film too much (though the film, obviously, demands something like that), but the baby did indicate to me just how divorced sexual desire in the film - as demonstrated to us by the desire for SJ - is from any kind of intimacy that might lead to a desire for procreation, for family. The male desire in the film has nothing to do with that kind of intimacy - and the fact that later, we see how sexual act cannot be completed b/c SJ doesn't have, apparently (?), the right parts, underscores just how divorced desire is from life, from procreation. And it's ironic and tragic in that later scene, too, because there is some authentic desire for intimacy between SJ and the man who helps her - he's tender with her, and perhaps sees her as more than her beautiful exterior, rather than being merely filled with desire for her body. His reaction, too, after the attempted sex, is compassionate - he's not angry, but wonders if she's ok. Both of these scenes - the abandoned baby and the thwarted sex act - perhaps together say something about just how divorced desire is from real intimacy, the kind of intimacy that would, perhaps lead to a desire for children, for even when there is a desire  for and movement towards intimacy, there's only (involuntary) rebuff. The body can't even act as SJ wants it to.

-The scene after SJ takes the disfigured (what's his condition called? I heard, but now I can't remember) man back to the house and he's gone under the pool, oily substance thing, SJ is looking in this round thing on that stairs that I took to be simply a mirror - she was, at any rate, reflected in it. But it confused me as to why looking in the mirror would cause her to go back and free the man (I think that's what happened) and let him go. She'd presumably looked into other mirrors - mirrors are everywhere in the film - we saw her reflection in the rear view mirror all the time and she saw mirrors in the mall at the beginning. (Loved those shots of women getting their skin done up and gazing in mirrors.) It was further confusing to me that the motorcycle man looked into the "mirror" later and then went out in pursuit of the man.  I didn't get what the deal was with the "mirror." I realized, after listening to the Slate Spoiler Special podcast, that it wasn't a mirror but a window, a peephole of sorts into the pool-thing. So, of course, SJ was looking at the man she had just lured there - and she for some reason decided to let him go (she's gaining some compassion at that point? a desire to be more human? a desire for intimacy?) and then the motorcycle man guy looked in and saw that the man was gone and went after him. Ok, makes sense - plot point cleared up. BUT I find my misreading - taking the window for a mirror - rather interesting because what happened was I was looking only at the reflective surface of the window into the pool, only at the glossy surface, not into or through that surface. So my misreading becomes a parallel to the whole conceit of the film: that men are looking at SJ's surface, never thinking to look beneath.

-I really loved the ending - the final scenes. The forest was so beautiful, and so horrible and isolated at the same time - something from a fairy tale (though it looked a great deal like the forests around here in the Pacific NW - the same damp, the same kinds of trees and foliage). But paired with the aesthetics, too, I love the commentary on sexual violence. My husband said, after the film, "why did he go to all the trouble to pour gas on her and burn her? going all the way back to his truck? Seems odd." But upon consideration, the burning of her is a parallel to the violence of attempted rape, of course, and the burning highlights even more thoroughly what that former violence is. The violent, hating, destructive fire of his desire for her, a desire that  literally ripped her skin is really no different from the violent, hating, destructive literal fire that was a kind of response to his thwarted desire and his fear (maybe) and hatred of what was beneath the surface. He hated her more after he saw beneath her skin, but it was only an extension of his previous hatred, desire-filled though it was.

-I loved the final shot, the snow falling, falling, so softly, making our last sensation one of cold isolation, as cold and as isolated as the burned body.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 01:06:47 PM by oneaprilday »

St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2014, 10:10:56 AM »
Great observations OAD - and I agree on all counts.
I especially believed that SJ was a replacement to the girl who we encounter as well.
I really need to see this again - there was just so much to explore in this film.
Hey, nice marmot!

oneaprilday

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2014, 07:26:00 PM »
Thanks, Martin!  And yes, it's definitely one I want to see again, too - so much there to think about.

jdc

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2014, 07:13:36 PM »

-The drownings and baby on the beach scene was probably one of the most unbearable things I've seen in a film. It was at that point, as I was feeling physically sick, desperately wanting to "get the baby," that I was thinking first, "it's only a movie it's only a movie it's only a movie" and second, "If this is an indicator of the film, I'm not sure I'll be able to handle this."

I had a similar reaction to the scene but at the part where they show their dog being caught in the rip tied and you can see the dog desperately trying to swim in but is being pulled out into the ocean which causes the mother to try to rescue the dog.  It was difficult to watch but one of the most effective scenes I have seen in years...
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oneaprilday

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2014, 12:47:56 PM »

-The drownings and baby on the beach scene was probably one of the most unbearable things I've seen in a film. It was at that point, as I was feeling physically sick, desperately wanting to "get the baby," that I was thinking first, "it's only a movie it's only a movie it's only a movie" and second, "If this is an indicator of the film, I'm not sure I'll be able to handle this."

I had a similar reaction to the scene but at the part where they show their dog being caught in the rip tied and you can see the dog desperately trying to swim in but is being pulled out into the ocean which causes the mother to try to rescue the dog.  It was difficult to watch but one of the most effective scenes I have seen in years...
Completely agree - it's just an incredibly effective scene - horrifying and powerful.

saltine

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2014, 07:46:18 PM »
Streaming in Amazon...now.
Texan Down Under

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2014, 01:29:53 PM »
That said, I don't the film is strong as a whole. This is going to pretty divisive with filmspotting forums. It's pretty much this year's UPSTREAM COLOR. A stirring puzzler with beautiful surrealistic imagery. Cold, but maybe too cold? Possibly thematically shallow? Should that even be a problem?

I'm pretty much in this camp. I actually found the visuals themselves more interesting in Under The Skin, but I found both of them way too withholding in terms of theme. Thus both find themselves in the bottom 10s of their respective years.