Movie Review

TV Preview – Mysterious Skin

Mysterious Skin 8

TV Preview – Mysterious Skin – Film 4 Friday 15th November 1.20am

I first saw Mysterious Skin in New York’s equivalent of the IFI, the IFC, while on honeymoon in 2005. I had consumed a diet of movies by Gregg Araki and Troma from my local Laser video store that year and was probably expecting the head trip of his earlier movies such as The Doom Generation(1995) or Nowhere (1997), both brimming with violence, eroticism and the acting chops of a Beverley Hills 90210 episode. Mysterious Skin was a far different piece, a subtle heart breaking exploration of how abuse effects two young boys lives very differently. Adapted from the 1996 novel by the same name written by Scott Heim, the film centres on Neil and Brian who were both abused by their baseball coach when they were 8 year olds. Neil, played by the fantastic Joseph Gordon-Levitt, remembers the abuse and becomes sexually compulsive. After leaving home he turns first to petty crime and then prostitution on the streets of New York. Brian , played by Brady Corbet, develops an amnesia to earlier events and creates a fantasy that he was abducted by aliens to explain his loss of memory with the exception of being touched by cold blue hands. Throughout his teenage years he has become nerdish and asexual and when he develops a relationship with another alien abductee, Avalyn, this is doomed when her physical touch sends him into a panic. While trying to untangle his confused memories Brian comes across a photo of his little league team and recognises Neil from his abduction dreams. He reaches out to Neil through his friend and when the two eventually meet Neil explains all to Brian.

The film received very favourable reviews and won several awards on the indie film festival circuit. It is both harrowing and touching and is not an easy film to watch. But if you watch it it cannot fail to remain with you for some time after.

Review by LAW

Categories: Movie Review, Movies, TV

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