Okay, my wife had read about this movie in one of her women's mags and wanted me to get it. She described the basic plot line, leading me to think that it would be a redo of Species. It wasn't.
Think about crossing Species, without the action, sensuality, or bravado with 2001, without Kubric's compelling management of the camera. It is European in approach, with long close ups of people driving, staring at rearview mirrors, random crowd shots, and people walking. For the longest time I thought that the point of the movie was to prove that the star, Scarlett Johansson, knew how to drive, because many long sequences of her doing just that pervade the first part of the movie.
Its bulled as erotic. It isn't. There is nudity but it is functional and not expressive. It was described as flooding your senses. It does take long periods to do anything.
The lack of traditional score, the surprisingly eire alien performance of SJ,
and the very expressionistic kill scenes do make for an unsettling experience but the director's method is quite awkward and he works too hard to make it look naturalistic. It becomes an exercise in patience.
Having said all of that, the plot is interesting and the film does accomplish an unsettling view of human nature, without the traditional explanatory exposition. You just have to be patient. My wife, who you recall wanted me to get this, wasn't and crashed out. I am glad that I finished it, as by the end, the effort toward naturalistic, understated cinematic style, though tough for an American use to a more polished style, did lead to a more brutal ending. SJ's awkward performance makes her quite believable in the part that she'd portraying and I was very impressed with what she accomplished. I think that the director could have trusted her more and laid off the long sequences of nothing-scenes.
Did I like it? I am not sure. It was interesting and I may have to watch it again. I will say that it left me subtly disturbed.
If that was the objective, and the fun-house mirror view of humanity, showed in slow motion, was a goal, then it worked. The abstract nature of imagery kept a lot of mystery and the main star’s disconnected performance made for a more human than human empathy, leading to the viewer becoming both connected and repelled by the story.
If you go into it expecting an arty approach, instead of a traditional four-color depiction, you might find the experience worth while.