Friday, August 8, 2014

Under the Skin Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
A voluptuous woman of unknown origin (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, 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.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
On a dark stretch of highway, a solitary man on a motorcycle is riding down the road. He stops, gets off his bike and enters the woods next to the highway. When he emerges, he’s carrying a body, which he places into the back of a van. In a white room, a woman is lying on the floor. Another woman removes her clothes and dresses in them. The beautiful dark-haired, red-lipped woman goes shopping at a mall and gets new clothes. Once she’s changed her clothes and applied make up, which makes her even more beautiful, she gets into a van and begins driving.

The woman picks up a man along the highway and takes him back to her apartment. There, she begins a seduction against a black nothingness. The man, following her through the black, begins sinking into a liquid, which envelops him into the inky blackness. The woman then dresses and leaves, searching for the next man. She finds others, who also return to her apartment, only to be swallowed up by the dark abyss. The next man has a disfigurement and after leading him back to her apartment, she lets him go. However, the man on the motorcycle tracks him down and takes him, then begins a search for the woman. 

The woman has arrived in a restaurant and after trying to eat some cake, leaves and meets a man who takes her back to his home and provides her with shelter and something to eat. Upstairs, the woman examines her body, and, after starting to make love, she abruptly stops and ends up leaving. She finds herself in a forest, where she finds shelter from the weather in an abandoned building. She awakens to a man assaulting her, and escapes through the woods. However, the man finds her again, and after attempting to rape her, realizes that she is not what she seems. As the woman sheds her skin, the man takes action, and the woman can no longer escape.

I had a hard time reviewing this movie. The story was interesting, the scenery was pretty, and the concept was interesting. I just couldn’t get into it. Ultimately, I settled on a three-star rating, and that’s because Scarlet Johansson did a good job in her part. She didn’t say much, and she didn’t need to. The script had her using her allure and sexuality to lure these men to her. She did a really good job conveying the thoughts and feelings of this woman without needing much dialogue. I liked the idea of the story; I just wish there was a little more to it.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen 16x9 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation of Under the Skin is quite good. The colors were sharp and the white and black backgrounds were really good. The mostly black background of the woman’s apartment was a true black and the contrast of the characters’ bodies worked well. The reflections on the floor in those scenes were clear. Skin tones are accurate and I didn’t see any issues with the picture.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation was good. There isn’t much dialogue, but there is music and background which both were clear. When there was dialogue, it was easily heard, but the Scottish accents were so heavy, it was difficult to understand. Captions in English SDH and subtitles in English and Spanish are also available.
Extras (1 out of 5 stars)
I wasn’t impressed with the special feature included. Perhaps if I’d have enjoyed the film more, I would have been more interested in the featurette.
  • The Making of Under the Skin Featurette – A look at the film from different aspects. It wasn’t very interesting, and I found myself bored and not wanting to watch any longer.
    Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
    I did not enjoy this film. I found it boring and didn't like the lack of a plot. However, after talking with someone else who saw it and enjoyed it, I let it sit for a few days before writing this review. Even after letting it sit, I didn’t enjoy it any more. I found myself bored and really wanted to turn it off. While it may be interesting to others, it just wasn’t the movie for me. It’s one of those films you just need to give a chance. You never know, you might like it.

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