BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
The equivalent of an exposed nerve ending, “Mysterious Skin” is a sensitive and emotionally charged beyond comprehension. A story told from the perspective of two very different young men, it centers around Neil, played masterfully by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as he partakes in multiple sexual encounters with strange men for money. Having been molested by his Little League coach growing up, we are privy to how this affects his mentality and how it’s shaped him into promiscuity. Dealing with a separate sort of encounter, the other half of the film is from the perspective of a nerdy young boy named Brian (Brady Corbet), who believes he was abducted by aliens when he was a child, having several unaccounted hours of his life.
Entirely differing in nature, these stories are both wholly engrossing and eventually intertwine with raw emotion. Joseph Gordon-Levitt pulls off the brooding young man, delivering a much darker embodiment than any of his previous endeavors. Helped by a talented supporting cast in Elisabeth Shue, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Jeff Licon. Apart from some extremely homoerotic material causing the NC-17 rating, it’s still undeniably well written and directed, leaving a lasting impression and carrying some dense subject matter in a decently paced drama that never quite let’s go.
May 6, 2005
Mary Lynn Rajskub