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Under the Skin (3/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 107 minutes.

Not for children.

This is a movie that is as incomprehensible as the classic, Last Year at Marienbad (1961) about a couple who may or may not have met last year at, well, you get the point. And if you do, itís more than most people did when they exited the movie. Over 50 years later I still donít have a clue.

And thatís the main problem with this movie. Whatís the point? Based on the novel by Michel Faber, Scarlett Johansson bares all as a predatory female who seduces lonely men after which they disappear. Whatís going on here? Unfortunately the viewer never really gets the picture because this film doesnít explain itself. It just ends. I didnít get the point until I read the production notes. But because the point of whatís going on would be a horrible spoiler, I wonít tell what it is.

There is very little dialogue. Most of the film consists of Johansson wandering around with a dazed look on her face looking for men to pick up and take to her lair where a bad fate awaits them.

Much of the interest (of men, anyway) centers around if and when Johansson will take off her clothes. Although the film starts with her stark naked, the scenes are dark and not that revealing. She eventually does strip but not until near the end of the film, when she stands in front of a mirror admiring herself.

Directed by Jonathan Glazer, who also wrote the script with Walter Campbell, the pace is extraordinarily slow, but interest doesnít wane that much because youíre trying to figure out whatís going on. Itís too bad Glazer never explains because a viewer wonít have the advantage of reading production notes and will be left wondering what that was all about.

As to the rating, while Johansson appears naked, so do several men in a state of sexual excitement, which normally calls for an NC-17 rating.