DVD review: Johansson propels eerie beauty of ‘Under the Skin’

By Sean P. Means

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: July 14, 2014 09:08AM
Updated: July 12, 2014 01:01AM
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| Courtesy A24 Films Scarlett Johansson plays an alluring alien in the eerie drama "Under the Skin."

Grade • A-

DVD •Director Jonathan Glazer’s eerie thriller “Under the Skin” is a movie that doesn’t give up its secrets easily, and it’s the patient viewer who’s rewarded by its icy beauty.

Scarlett Johansson stars as a woman, seemingly not of this Earth, who drives around Scotland seeking unattached young men to seduce. When she finds one, she takes him home, an all-black expanse with a reflective floor into which the poor guy sinks like quicksand.

Glazer (“Sexy Beast”) employs long silences, Kubrick-level visuals and a semi-improvised series of encounters Johansson’s character has with random Scotsmen (many of whom didn’t know they were in a movie). The film’s most impressive special effect, though, is Johansson, who uses her looks and her acting ability to depict an alien slowly learning what it means to be human.