Author Topic: Under the Skin  (Read 6036 times)

verbALs

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2014, 01:52:45 PM »
A comparison to Upstream Color? Thanks Bondo I wasn't sure but I'm definitely going to see this film now if it's as bad as UC.
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oneaprilday

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2014, 02:29:39 PM »
Don't miss out, verbALs. Under the Skin is fantastic. And it certainly approaches story elliptically - there's no scientist with a whiteboard explaining things, as I think Dana Stevens said recently about the film - but it contains nothing like the ambiguity of UC. I think the themes and storyline are pretty straightforward, actually.

Melvil

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2014, 05:19:52 PM »
I hadn't really thought of comparing Under the Skin to Upstream Color, but both are fantastic for communicating their storytelling through visual, intuitive means. I don't think UtS is as good as UC, but they're both really interesting films and among the more exciting things I've seen in cinema of recent.

I hate the idea that films that take this approach are being purposefully ambiguous and are therefore bad. The form of storytelling they aspire to requires a certain approach that some people obviously don't like, but it's a sort of pure cinematic experience that I wish I would see more of.

oneaprilday

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2014, 07:43:54 PM »
both are fantastic for communicating their storytelling through visual, intuitive means. I don't think UtS UC is as good as UC UtS, but they're both really interesting films and among the more exciting things I've seen in cinema of recent.

I hate the idea that films that take this approach are being purposefully ambiguous and are therefore bad. The form of storytelling they aspire to requires a certain approach that some people obviously don't like, but it's a sort of pure cinematic experience that I wish I would see more of.
Nicely put, Melvil, very much agree (apart from that one quibble ;) ). I walked out of the cinema after both of them simply elated; they're the sorts of films that make you realize what cinema has the capacity do and be and what it can do that sets it apart from other art forms.

St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2014, 11:45:26 PM »
I hate the idea that films that take this approach are being purposefully ambiguous and are therefore bad. The form of storytelling they aspire to requires a certain approach that some people obviously don't like, but it's a sort of pure cinematic experience that I wish I would see more of.

I love not being steered through a narrative and being allowed to let my mind play while watching.
I definitely feel more engaged.
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Alan Smithee

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2014, 09:50:43 AM »
I hate the idea that films that take this approach are being purposefully ambiguous and are therefore bad. The form of storytelling they aspire to requires a certain approach that some people obviously don't like, but it's a sort of pure cinematic experience that I wish I would see more of.

I love not being steered through a narrative and being allowed to let my mind play while watching.
I definitely feel more engaged.


Same here,  its like the director is almost letting you collaborate with them.

oneaprilday

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2014, 12:46:28 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.
Given your interest in gender/feminist studies, Bondo, I'd be curious to hear your take on these two analyses; both of them iterate themes in the film that I noted myself and would have thought you'd find compelling, too?:

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Bondo

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2014, 09:01:47 PM »
They kind of emphasize my problem. They sound like descriptions of an interesting film, yet I feel like it is way overreading what the material itself provides, such that you get some actively contradictory interpretations. I'm not sure reading about a film should be more interesting than the film itself.

It reminds me of this thing that Corey (aka FroHam) wrote with an assist from a few other forum members in chat.

I can take basically any film and weave some grand thematic purpose, even mind-numbing Michael Bay nonsense (Pain and Gain made this a popular past-time), with just a little time and thought. If it is vaguely plausible, does that alone make it valuable?

Ultimately, thematic interpretations that stretch this far can feel a bit hollow. I'm not sure many people took my analysis of The Illusionist, that it was a film that depicted the way men kind of break themselves for women, seriously, but it seems at least as grounded in what that film displayed as these analyses of Under The Skin are in its text. Same with my interpretation of In The Mood For Love being a couple pretending to be each married to someone else as a role play to keep things interesting. These things made these movies a bit more interesting for me, but they are pretty big stretches. And in the case of ITMFL, abandoning this interpretation rendered the film pretty uninteresting to me.

I guess what I'm saying is I want to look at the film and say "that's why they did that" rather than "I guess you could come to that conclusion."

Melvil

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2014, 09:25:08 PM »
Hmm, my experience was not having to work at coming up with an interpretation, but enjoying how effortlessly the cinematic form lead me to them. Not in big ways, but in small slivers of insight that elicited interesting responses from me. As for your last point, I guess I don't need the movie to confirm that my experience was "correct".

I'm not sure reading about a film should be more interesting than the film itself.

It shouldn't be, but obviously you can only have this experience if you didn't find the film interesting. I think we can all list films that we find more interesting on paper, but having a lot of interesting discussion around a film that you did like is always a nice thing.

Bondo

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Re: Under the Skin
« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2014, 09:41:11 PM »
Let's just focus on one point...that ScarJo's character is part of a male-dominated system. There is certainly a guy on a motorcycle, but I don't think the film ever indicates he has any power over her. It is just as easy to see him as janitor as it is to see him as minder. He does her dirty work vis a vis finding her clothes, retrieving left items that might link her, etc. As far as I remember, he never interacts directly with her or intimidates her. Even after she "rebels" (I did not pick up a sense of rebellion, only of her pitying the man with the deformity), she wasn't pursued.

I'm more willing to get into the capitalist interpretation...though I feel like they'd need to expand the function of the commodity to make this work at all. I have no idea what the byproduct of these men does. Is it a luxury item? But she uses her value as an object, because that's all she's got, to damage average men. Divide and conquer to the benefit of the 1% who are mostly men. Sounds great, but for this interpretation to hold any water, I'd need some reason to suspect there is an elite that is benefitting. Instead, the only reason I can tell she does it is because it is what she does. Apparently the film is saying all women know is trying to be sexy and thereby destroying men? That is half-feminist.