Review: Mysterious Skin

Mysterious Skin (US, 2005)
directed by Gregg Araki

Two boys. One can’t remember. The other can’t forget.

0508mysteriousskin.jpgIt’s based on a novel by Scott Heim, about two boys subjected to sexual abuse in their childhood, and their different coping mechanism: Brian has nightmares and blackouts accompanied with nosebleeds of five hours he lost—couldn’t remember—when he was 8 years old, believing that it was a result of an alien abduction. Neil, on the other hand, remembers all too well the time he was seduced and molested by his Little League baseball coach. Brian grew socially awkward, while Neil pretty much flaunting (and hustling) his sexuality to anyone interested (and indeed there were many).

I’ve been anticipating this movie ever since Aoki told me about it (and even more so as I saw it popping at Sydney Film Fest (as well as Melbourne’s), always in positively glowing reviews), so when I finally managed to watch it, I was let down. It’s a-OK movie (and ahem, Gordon-Levitt is an eyecandy), but I guess I had my expectations too high up by all the publicity and, er, the recent dramas by the seething conservatives eager to ban the movie. I don’t see attempts at sensationalism in this movie, something that I welcome (in contrast to, say, Irréversible): no bombastic shot, sexual promiscuity is treated indifferently, while the subjects of pedophilia is sensitively handled without any attempt to glorify it. Nothing to get your knickers twisted. I guess what disappoints me most was the characterisation, along with the rather tacky if not sometimes cheesy dialogues.

I haven’t read the novel yet (still checked out from the library), but it looks interesting enough to flip through. In cinemas in Australia this August 18.

Mysterious Skin (Original Theatrical Director’s Cut) (2004)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brady Corbet
Director: Gregg Araki
Rating: NC-17

Mysterious Skin (novel)
by Scott Heim
Harper Perennial; Reissue edition (May 10, 2005)

6 Replies to “Review: Mysterious Skin”

  1. looks interesting. jadi pengen.
    ngomong2 kemarin gue nemu VCD adaptasi novel erich kaestner.
    tapi karena aslinya film jerman — didub jadi bahasa indonesia? :(

  2. Gue waktu itu nyerah ga jadi donlot gara2 sizenya hampir 4 giga =v=

    still, kalu below expectations eyecandyyy tetep~~~~ *sparkle2*

    Not that bad as in biasa sajah ya? (tetep pnasaran)

  3. Olivia:
    Oh I quite like the movie alright (Gordon-Levitt helps), just that it fell below my expectations (raised by all the so-glowing-they-blind reviews). I haven’t seen his other movies yet though, now you piqued my curiosity.

    Ah didub… Mau guwah kirimi ajah? :3

    Udah ntar gue kirimi ajah. Mayan kok pelemnya, cuma ga sampe amat amat (as in, gue expect 9/10 gitu dari repyu2 dan komen2 orang2, but I’d probably give it an 8 max). Karakter utamanya kerasa rada… simplified? Tapi temen dia baek seh. Coba kalo bagian anak kecilnya lebih banyak, mungkin lebih seru (lha?).

  4. in other words, it’s just felt and looked like every other drama-romance movies out there? a shame, padahal karakter2nya udah menarik bgitu…

    oh but i do still want to watch it for myself.
    i’m still hoping that i can watch it while it’s still on miff *crosses fingers*

    meanwhile.. makasi udah kasitau ada novelnya. that, i can try to find & maybe read first to contain my craving >D

  5. dechi:
    I wouldn’t chalk it up as most drama-romance movies out there (there’s hardly any romance actually), but the characterisations, plots and dialogues could use some refining; they kinda reek of coming-of-age cliches.

    (But the eyecandies notched the rating up by a few points.)

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