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Mysterious Skin (Original Theatrical Director's Cut) (2004)

Brady Corbet , Joseph Gordon-Levitt , Gregg Araki  |  NC-17 |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)

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Mysterious Skin
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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $29.99  
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Product Details

  • Actors: Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elisabeth Shue, Chase Ellison, George Webster
  • Directors: Gregg Araki
  • Writers: Gregg Araki, Scott Heim
  • Producers: Gregg Araki, Beau J. Genot, Chris Larsen, Hans Ritter, Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NC-17
  • Studio: Strand Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,915 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mysterious Skin (Original Theatrical Director's Cut)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Director's Commentary
  • Interview with Gregg Araki
  • Book Reading
  • Interview with novelist Scott Heim
  • Interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet
  • Tribeca Film Festival Featurette

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
111 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best films of 2005. April 11, 2006
I read Scott Heim's novel "Mysterious Skin" a number of years ago, and found it powerful and challenging. When I learned that Gregg Araki was making a film based on the book, I was apprehensive. "Msterious Skin" deals with the long lasting effects of child abuse. The last thing one wants when approaching this subject from an artistic stand point, is to be in any way exploitive. The good news is that Mr. Araki's has triumphed - his is a brilliant film. The performances throughout are outstanding - especially that of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an in-your-face gay teen who uses sex as a means to an end - whether hustling or simply giving it away. Brady Corbet delivers in the quieter role of Brian, who has so effectively blocked the memory of his abuse that he has come to believe that he may have been a victim of alien abduction.

This is a tough little film, dealing with topics that most people shy away from - child sexual molestation, drug abuse, prostitution and homosexuality. Araki doesn't flinch or shy away from any of them. It is a testsment to his incredible talent that he has made a film from this material which is both palatable and compelling.
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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innocence Lost. May 29, 2006
Be forewarned: This film takes a frank look at pedophilia, prostitution, and rape from the perspective of two sexually abused boys. If you are honestly interested in understanding the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, director Gregg Araki's film is an extremely thoughtful and non-exploitive examination of a painful and relatively neglected film topic.

In Hutchison, Kansas, during the summer of 1981, Neil (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Brian (Brady Corbett), are molested by their little league baseball coach (Bill Sage). Brian's response to the abuse is to blackout and to forget what happened to him. In order to account for his two blackouts, Brian imagines that aliens abducted him. Neil, however, becomes the team's star player, and develops a summer long relationship with Coach. Unlike Brian, Neil both remembers and attempts to control and re-experience his exploitation by becoming a male prostitute. Eventually, Brian, haunted by bizarre dreams, seeks to end his general sense of malaise. After a fellow alien abductee encourages him to follow the clues from his dreams, Brian discovers that he and Neil share a common past.

So many of the things in this film are spot on. In point of fact, boys are more often abused by babysitters, coaches, and teachers. And while Neil tells his best friend Wendy about the abuse (after making her witness his abuse of another boy), neither boy tells his parents. Also, there is no recognizable symptom of sexual abuse; the two boys respond to their experience in remarkable different ways. Neil identifies with his abuser; Brian disassociates himself from his sexuality. Though both boys develop compulsive behaviors, the film skirts clear of oversimplifying their psychological distress.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A significant achievement August 29, 2005
In the summer of '81, Kansas 8-year-olds Neil and Brian are both sexually abused by their Little League coach, but their reactions could not be more different. For the sexually precocious Neil, it's a sexual awakening, setting him on the path to becoming a gay hustler and a life of such emotional numbness that he looks back on Coach as his "one true love". For Brian, it's a hellish experience his brain all but erases with 5 hours of lost time, leaving him shy, remote, unable to engage romantically with anyone, and floundering through adolescence struggling to make sense of what happened to him. It's only when he finally reconnects with Neil after a decade of searching that all the pieces finally fall into place... Gregg Araki's significant achievement here is to make a movie that is as moving as it is pitiless in the depiction of abuse and its consequences. The writing is crisp, the performances brave and convincing (Joseph Gordon-Levitt especially), and it's so brilliantly structured and edited that the only time any abuse is actually "seen" is in the minds of the audience during the moving final confessional sequence. It's hard to believe that this bold and tender film could be criticised for its masterful handling of a difficult subject, yet it aroused the ire of ludicrously conservative film and literature classification bodies here in Australia. Members were apparently alarmed that it might be used as some kind of training video for paedophiles in how to "groom" their victims. On the contrary: rarely has a film so powerfully and effectively argued against abuse by showing its devastating consequences.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skin-Deep August 21, 2005
Watched Mysterious Skin two days ago. Somehow I didn't have the compulsion to write anything about it, like I usually would when I have watched a (good or bad) film. It was because I was reeling from the disturbing effects the film had on me even after two days.

"The summer I was eight years old, five hours disappeared from my life"? so runs the catchy opening to the adapted film. The boy grows up believeing that he was abducted by strange aliens the five hours he was lost. The other grows up to be a gay hustler until he has a tragic and violent encounter. The material wasn't groundbreaking; it talks about paedophilic gay child abuse and the effects it had on the two boys involved in it long after it was over. However, it was the realism portrayed by the leads Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock From The Sun) and Brady Corbet that really shook me inside. It also revealed the stereotypical American gay society in the 80's and early 90's. The two little known actors and the supporting cast of Jeff Licon and Michelle Trachtenberg who play Levitt's best friends also lent great depth to the movie.

I really loved the scene where the snow fell and God was heard. Watch it for yourself, but it's not for the faint-hearted. (A)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a powerfully good, disturbing yet brilliant movie.
Having been a fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt for quite some time, this was a movie that really hit me quite powerfully. Read more
Published 1 hour ago by Wayne Thoresen
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
I really enjoyed this movie. Not many can keep my attention and this one had me watching from the moment I pressed play. Good flick!
Published 1 day ago by Kane
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart!
This is a VERY hard hitting movie, not for the faint of heart by any stretch of the imagination. I use it with seasoned psychology students and even they had a bit of trouble... Read more
Published 4 days ago by TDMac
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to watch, but worth it
This movie is about an ugly topic. Without overwrought emotions or manipulation, an agonizing yet somehow uplifting story is told with candor and sensitivity. Read more
Published 8 days ago by James W. Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars Not your average film
This movie is not for everyone. I enjoyed it. Not sure if it's a timeless classic, the content is very disturbing at times. It is very gritty and raw. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Ksho
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and honest
Mysterious Skin was very disturbing but considering the topic it was supposed to be disturbing. Just prepare your mind before watching this movie because there are a lot of cringe... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Ben Daho
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok acting, but slow plot was not compelling and totally un-involving
Never cared for the characters. The plot was alternately slow and predictable. One of those 'I was I had that time back' movies
Published 18 days ago by FJP
3.0 out of 5 stars Good acting - movie riddled in inaccuracies
So, I came across this movie and saw that it was based on a book of the same name. The subject matter is steeped in taboos and the book did an awesome and gritty portrayal of child... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lucky*
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cult Favorite Goes Blu In Its Deluxe Tenth Anniversary Release:...
Unintentionally, I have a long history with "Mysterious Skin." Upon the release of Scott Heim's debut novel in 1996, I purchased and read the book because I liked the plot... Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
Hard hitting and gripping movie. How we try to handle things that may or may not have happened to us in life. Why do we chose the things we do? Can be hard to watch for some.
Published 1 month ago by Wyatt G
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Topic From this Discussion
Difference(s) between this and the Deluxe Unrated Director's Edition?
Here's a website that discusses the differences:

There's also another link within that site that takes you to another website that writes about the legal issues that came about between the producers... Read more
Jan 16, 2013 by Alex Honda |  See all 2 posts
Did you ever find out what was up? I bought the deluxe unrated director's edition, which also claimed to be widescreen/letterbox/16x9, but it plays fullscreen instead.
Mar 14, 2008 by Alex W. |  See all 3 posts
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