Mysterious Skin

Mysterious Skin

4.0 3
Director: Gregg Araki

Cast: Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Trachtenberg

     
 

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Two young men are haunted by similar events from their past, though the effects manifest themselves in very different ways, in this powerful drama from independent filmmaker Gregg Araki. In the summer of 1981, Brian (George Webster) and Neil (Chase Ellison) are both eight years old and playing on the same little league baseball team in a small Kansas town. One day,

Overview

Two young men are haunted by similar events from their past, though the effects manifest themselves in very different ways, in this powerful drama from independent filmmaker Gregg Araki. In the summer of 1981, Brian (George Webster) and Neil (Chase Ellison) are both eight years old and playing on the same little league baseball team in a small Kansas town. One day, after a game, Brian blacks out after getting caught in a rainstorm, and five hours later he finds himself sitting in his basement with his nose bleeding and no memory of what happened to him. Over the years, the event -- particularly the missing five hours -- weigh heavily on his mind, and he becomes convinced that he was kidnapped by space aliens. Teenaged Brian (now played by Brady Corbet) becomes friends with Avalyn Friesen (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a woman who claims to have been abducted by aliens on several occasions, and she urges him to look to his dreams for patterns that might suggest what happened to him. Meanwhile, during the same summer, Neil developed a powerful crush on their little league coach (Bill Sage), who appeared to have also taken a shine to Neil. Neil's mother (Elisabeth Shue), seeing nothing wrong with their friendship, lets the coach look after Neil while she's off on one of her many dates, and before long Neil begins sexually experimenting with the older man. Neil's introduction to sex inspires him to become a hustler when he grows into his teens, and after burning his bridges in his hometown, Neil (now played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his close friend Wendy (Michelle Trachtenberg) move to New York, where he continues to cruise for a living but under significantly more risky circumstances. One day, Neil is contacted by Brian, who after seeing one of their team photos from their days in little league suspects he might have some clues as to what happened to him in 1981. Mysterious Skin was based on the novel by Scott Heim, and marked the first time Gregg Araki made a film that did not originate with one of his own screenplays.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
With its complicated plot, multiple unreliable narrators, and subtle interplay between fantasy and reality, Scott Heim's Mysterious Skin doesn't seem like an easy candidate for cinematic adaptation. But alt-pop auteur Gregg Araki has fashioned the novel into a mournful, lyrical rumination an lost innocence, abandoning only a few nuances along the way. Continuing to erase memories of his embarrassing sitcom past, Joseph Gordon-Levitt completely inhabits the role of Neil McCormick, a gay hustler forever haunted by the purity of his childhood relationship with a handsome baseball coach. Brady Corbet proves equally compelling as Brian Lackey, a UFO-obsessed college student with very different memories of his Little League days. The facts lie somewhere between Neil's hard-nosed cynicism and Brian's damaged flights of fancy. But Araki is more interested in the emotional truth of these boys' experiences -- the way their individual coping mechanisms protect them from a shared past even while endangering their divergent futures. The director's previous films revelled in an overstuffed visual aesthetic, but here, with the help of cinematographer Steve Gainer, he fashions an entire world of forlorn childhood nostalgia and haunted suburban spaces. Araki's casting, impeccable as ever, allows talents as disparate as Elisabeth Shue, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Michelle Trachtenberg to contribute to his remarkably consistent vision. Audiences put off by the bratty pop excess of Araki's earlier films may not recognize the mature filmmaker of Mysterious Skin. But fans will have glimpsed this film's heartbreak before, beneath the candy-colored surfaces of Nowhere and The Doom Generation.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/20/2006
UPC:
0712267260027
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
NR
Source:
Strand Home Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
12,595

Special Features

16x9 feature; Motion menu; Commentary track with Gregg Araki, Joseph Gordon-Levitt + Grady Corbet; International trailer; Mysterious Skin book reading; Actors' audition tape ; Deleted scenes; DTS 5.1 soundtrack

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Brady Corbet Brian Lackey
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Neil McCormick
Michelle Trachtenberg Wendy Peterson
Jeff Licon Eric Preston
Bill Sage Coach Heider
Mary Lynn Rajskub Avalyn Friesen
Elisabeth Shue Mrs. McCormick
Chase Ellison Actor
Lisa Long Mrs. Lackey
Chris Mulkey Mr. Lackey
Billy Drago Actor
Richard Riehle Actor
Trieste Dunn Blood Prom Cast/Crew

Technical Credits
Gregg Araki Director,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Wouter Barendrecht Executive Producer
Trip Brock Sound/Sound Designer
Harold Budd Score Composer
Steve Gainer Cinematographer
Robin Guthrie Score Composer
Devorah Herbert Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer
Alix Hester Costumes/Costume Designer
Alex Korp Asst. Director
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte Producer
Shannon Makhanian Casting
Howard Paar Musical Direction/Supervision
Hans Christian Ritter Co-producer
Mary Jane Skalski Producer
Michael J. Werner Executive Producer
Josh Zeman Co-producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Mysterious Skin
1. Opening Sequence [2:25]
2. Brian, Summer 1981 [3:34]
3. Neil, Summer 1981 [9:56]
4. October 1983 [4:36]
5. November 1987 [8:12]
6. Fall 1991 [14:18]
7. Detective Work [14:33]
8. November, December 1991 [14:24]
9. Birthday [5:24]
10. Brighton Beach [1:02]
11. Christmas Eve 1991 [7:15]
12. End Credits [15:53]

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Mysterious Skin 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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