Mysterious Skin

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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 ...
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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.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Director and actors' commentary; "Mysterious Skin" book reading; Original theatrical trailer
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2005
  • UPC: 807839001754
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: Tla
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD

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
Lisa Long Mrs. Lackey
Chris Mulkey Mr. Lackey
Billy Drago
Richard Riehle
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
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Mysterious Skin
1. Brian [6:00]
2. Neil [9:19]
3. Kaleidoscope [5:11]
4. November, 1987 [5:03]
5. Maniac [6:17]
6. Gawkin' [5:31]
7. Wary of Strangers [5:39]
8. Foul Ball [7:05]
9. Postcard [7:25]
10. November, December 1991 [6:21]
11. Do Planets Write Letters? [8:03]
12. Nice Touch [5:25]
13. Welcome [8:15]
14. Christmas Eve, 1991 [5:09]
15. This Is It, Right? [4:53]
16. Escape [5:53]
17. Credits [3:19]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Mysterious Skin
   Play Film
   Chapters
   Set Up
      Audio
         Dolby 2.0 Stereo
         Dolby 5.1 Surround
         DTS 5.1 Surround
         Commentary With Gregg Araki, Brady Corbet and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
      Subtitles
         English Subtitles: On
         English Subtitles: Off
   Special Features
      Original Theatrical Trailer
      Book Reading With Brady Corbet and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
      Trailers
         9 Songs
         Milwaukee Minnesota
         Ma Mère
         America Brown
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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2 Star

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