COLUMN: “Under the Skin”: either you love it, or you hate it


Rob Le Cates

Cam’ron Hardy is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Cam'ron Hardy, Columnist

“Under the Skin” is a science fiction film, starring Laura, played by Scarlett Johansson, who plays a robot who disguises herself as a human female and drives around Scotland to trap men in her vehicle. After she lures them in, she seduces them and takes them back to her house where she essentially sends them into another dimension.

The film is based on the book ‘Under the Skin’, which was written by Michael Faber.

The film is very odd. There is very little dialogue, and the audience is not given any explanation as to why any of the things are happening. The film started off very weirdly. It was very slow to even show a scene of the film.

There were about 5 minutes passed until a single word was said. Viewers are shown basically a black screen with a little white light that expands for about three minutes. This can be enough for the viewer to turn off the film and never return to it.

Unfortunately, the storyline never pays off.

The audience goes through the repetition of seeing Laura pick up men and bring them to her home, where the transportation takes place. The process as to how they are transported is irregular to what is to be expected. The men are naked and follow Laura but the further they walk to her, the more sunk in they are into an unseen, assumably, pit of water.

We see that after the men get into the water, they are pretty much deflated and transform into an irregular shape.

Viewers follow Laura around Scotland which gets annoying because they have no idea why anything is happening. The lack of context can frustrate viewers and just leave them watching a movie that provides no comprehension to viewers.

At the end of the movie, Laura goes into the woods where she meets a logger who tries to rape Laura, but it is officially shown that she is Laura when there is black skin under her own. The logger runs away, and Laura takes off her human skin, and viewers are shown her robotic form. The logger comes back and lights her on fire.

The cinematography was the only pleasurable aspect of this film. The usage of light really allowed the cinematography to stick out. A lot of the scenes were dark with little tweaks to how some things were portrayed, which allowed the scenes to be visually amusing.

There also were some weird shots where the subject in a shot had moved on, but the camera stayed there for an abnormal amount of time with nothing else happening. In a way, this makes the camera work stand out, but for how unusual it was.

Essentially, the viewer has to create their own narrative about the film, which leads to them being left with the decision to love or hate this movie.

Leaving audience members to be able to have their own ideas as to what the film means. Others may like the general route where they know exactly what is going on and are left with closure. With a little more information as to why things were happening, the film might have been more enjoyable.

Some say this is Johansson at her best, which is questionable because she does not display a lot of emotion and doesn’t really say that much throughout the movie. The entire movie was weird.

Maybe if someone looks into the meanings behind the movie, they would revisit the movie, but other than that, there is no reason to rewatch the movie.

Rate: 1/5

Cam’ron Hardy is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.