Brian (Brady Corbet, 24) has an infatuation with extraterrestrials. He is convinced that when he was young he had been abducted, which lead to his immutable black-outs and nose bleeds. Fragments of the incident begin worming their way out of his subconscious through his dreams and he recalls another boy being there with him. Brian seeks out this boy, Neil, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Brick) in hopes to piece his childhood together.
Neil’s tale begins under the most disturbing and dark microscope. As a child Neil spends an entire summer being molested by his little league coach. He obscures the attention, coupled with his mother’s negligence into true love and feels forever bonded with the man. He exhibits many classic byproducts of an abused child; mild psychotic bursts, apathy, etc. He has an arrogant exterior and eventually grows into turning tricks for a living. In the end it becomes his duty to help Brian come to terms.
Mysterious Skin is not for the faint at heart. The neat and unanimous response from the people I watched this with was, “It was really difficult to watch, but it was very good.” I wasn’t quick to judge. In fact I came to my conclusion several hours later. I honestly hated this film as a whole. I usually can appreciate artsy indie films. They represent labors of love. You can absolutely see the care that went into this movie, but the detail they delve into not only shows the horrors of child abuse, but it nearly abuses the audience itself. The graphic and gratuitous nature of the film often had me flinching or turning away. I want to like this because of the quality of the film and the excellent acting, but I can’t in good conscious recommended this one. Films are suppose to be entertaining, right? Or art? Art isn’t always pretty, but at what point do you step back and say perhaps you’ve gone a little too far. It left me wondering what parent allows their child to act in such a movie? How do you explain to them exactly what they are portraying without inflicting some kind of long term damage?
I reiterate, I want to like this film, but I just can’t.
I can’t afford this movie a ♣, but if I could it would be for the young cast, Corbet, Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Euro Trip) and Jeffrey Licon (Joan of Arcadia).
Did you like this film or were you horrified? Tell me what you thougt!