Derek Winnert

Mysterious Skin ***** (2004, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brady Corbet, Elisabeth Shue, Bill Sage) – Classic Film Review 160

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We can trust indie writer-director Gregg Araki for a provocative, accomplished movie. And here it is. Brady Corbet (from Thunderbirds) stars as Brian Lackey, a bright teenage lad living with his single mom (Elisabeth Shue) after her divorce. He thinks he’s seen a UFO and been abducted by aliens.

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Eventually he seeks out Neil McCormick, another boy from his old school, who is now a hustler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Corbet thinks Gordon-Levitt can help him find out the truth about a dark secret in the past and give him the clue to the future.

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Based on a novel by Scott Heim, and with its main story set in 1991, this dip into the dark recesses of human nature is a provocative, bleak, truthful and outstanding treatment of an extremely difficult subject. Bleak though it may be, it’s darkly amusing and ultimately very moving and hopeful.

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It’s beautifully filmed by an inspired Gregg Araki (director of The Doom Generation, Totally F***ed Up and The Living End), and lit up by superb performances. An on-fire Gordon-Levitt (wearing blue contact lenses and sometimes not much else) is absolutely amazing and Corbet proves perfect for it.

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It was not a major award-winner maybe, but it picked up deserved wins at the Brisbane, Bergen, Rotterdam and Seattle film festivals, a good result for an indie movie like this.

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Heim based the Brian character on himself. He entered his screenplay from his novel in a writing lab at Sundance, where Araki was a judge. Eventually Araki wrote his own screenplay.

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http://derekwinnert.com/the-doom-generation-1995-gregg-araki-classic-film-review-1040/

© Derek Winnert 2013 Classic Movie Review 160

Check out more reviews on http://derekwinnert.com

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