Is ‘Under The Skin’ Scarlett Johannson’s ‘The Shining’?
There’s a part in Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin where, without giving anything away, Scarlett Johannson walks completely naked through a black void. You are not watching The Sexiest Woman Alive, nor the movie star you know and love. Instead, you are essentially watching a fly get caught in a spider’s web, and it’s one of the most breathtaking performances I’ve seen in long, long time. It reminded me a lot of Jack Nicholson’s career-changing turn in The Shining, a comparison that might seem like a stretch until you look at it a bit more closely.
Favorite line in this article (talking about audience members just there to see Scarlett Johansson nude) - “What those guys wanted was some T&A. Instead, they got to witness a fucking revelation.”
As I said in a previous post, I liked this film. Again, not as much as I was thinking I would like it, but I did like it. I think it’s easily one of her best performances. She’s been complaining for years about how she delivers a film, and all anyone ever see’s is tits and ass. In my opinion, like Ned say’s, she’s been doing mostly throw away roles for a very long time. This film comes along, and she actually really does show everything, but you’re too busy being enthralled by her too notice. For me, when a girl that you have held in your mind as an ideal of physical perfection for over a decade finally shows everything, and all you can think about when the lights come up is everything else that happens in the film, that’s the real deal. This is the kind of performance she made us believe she could do in Ghost World, Girl With The Pearl Earring, Lost In Translation, and a few other films that she stood out in. I understand that films like The Avengers put food on the table, and I liked The Avengers, but like her male counterparts in those movies (except for, possibly Downey Jr. who seems tailor made for Tony Stark), she’s interchangeable in a lot of this stuff. Under The Skin makes you feel like no one else could have played that role. For me, Lost In Translation and Pearl Earring felt that way, too.
She is incredibly talented, but she’s not talented because she gets a lot of work, or because she’s sexy. She’s talented because, on occasion, she can walk into a roll like this and secure the audiences attention completely. She can capture you, the way an actor should. I look at that picture above, and I don’t really see Scarlett. I see the alien from Under The Skin. I look at a picture from Lost in Translation, and I see Charlotte, not Scarlett.