movie recommendation: Mysterious Skin
- A friend sent this recommendation for the movie Mysterious Skin:
In MYSTERIOUS SKIN, an unlikely director takes on an even more
unlikely lead actor and crafts a deeply felt coming-of-age tale that
pulsates with the scalding beauty of tragedy. The director, Gregg
Araki, whose over-the-top, gay melodramas have been criticized as
largely empty provocations, proves himself here to have great
sensitivity. Yet it is the lead actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, best
known for his work on the alien sitcom THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN,
whose unforgettable, nuanced performance makes the film. Based on
the novel by Scott Heim, the story follows two teenage boys living
in small-town Kansas: Brian (Brady Corbet), a clunky and awkward
fellow with no discernable social life; and Neil (Gordon-Levitt), a
rebellious gay youth whose fragile beauty and cruel indifference
make him a successful hustler to the area's older men. Having
suffered from blackouts as a child, Brian believes that these voids
were actually alien abductions, and goes on a quest to confirm this.
As his memories become increasingly vivid, Brian convinces himself
that Neil, the star player on his childhood Little League team and a
regular presence in his dreams, knows the truth. Neil does, in fact,
know exactly what happened. The boys were sexually abused by their
Little League coach. While Brian has suppressed the incident, Neil
has held it deep within him like a treasure, considering it to have
been a loving relationship of respect and tenderness, the absence of
which has left him emotionally empty. The two strands of narrative
are braided together elegantly, slowly leading up to a devastating
final scene. Araki unifies the stories through an elegiac, celestial
tone that manages to avoid preachiness via doses of appropriate
humor. MYSTERIOUS SKIN is so profoundly alive with sadness and
beauty that it nearly burns.
Jay comment ---
Upon this recommendation, I saw the movie yesterday afternoon in San Francisco at the Red Vic Theatre on Haight Street.
It closes tonight with two showings.
It is an absolute must see. It is extremely heavy.
The movie is both disgusting and exquisite.
DVD release date: 25 October 2005
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