Deluxe Unrated Director's Edition, Director's Cut
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Two young men are haunted by similar events from their past, though the effects manifest themselves in very different ways, in this powerful drama from independent filmmaker Gregg Araki. In the summer of 1981, Brian (George Webster) and Neil (Chase Ellison) are both eight years old and playing on the same little league baseball team in a small Kansas town. One day, after a game, Brian blacks out after getting caught in a rainstorm, and five hours later he finds himself sitting in his basement with his nose bleeding and no memory of what happened to him. Over the years, the event -- particularly the missing five hours -- weigh heavily on his mind, and he becomes convinced that he was kidnapped by space aliens. Teenaged Brian (now played by Brady Corbet) becomes friends with Avalyn Friesen (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a woman who claims to have been abducted by aliens on several occasions, and she urges him to look to his dreams for patterns that might suggest what happened to him. Meanwhile, during the same summer, Neil developed a powerful crush on their little league coach (Bill Sage), who appeared to have also taken a shine to Neil. Neil's mother (Elisabeth Shue), seeing nothing wrong with their friendship, lets the coach look after Neil while she's off on one of her many dates, and before long Neil begins sexually experimenting with the older man. Neil's introduction to sex inspires him to become a hustler when he grows into his teens, and after burning his bridges in his hometown, Neil (now played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his close friend Wendy (Michelle Trachtenberg) move to New York, where he continues to cruise for a living but under significantly more risky circumstances. One day, Neil is contacted by Brian, who after seeing one of their team photos from their days in little league suspects he might have some clues as to what happened to him in 1981. Mysterious Skin was based on the novel by Scott Heim, and marked the first time Gregg Araki made a film that did not originate with one of his own screenplays. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
- Includes deleted scenes and audition tapes of the lead actors never before available: Joseph Gordon Levitt and Brady Corbet
- designed by director Gregg Araki
- creation of packaging and DVD menus supervised by Gregg Araki
- Commentary track with Gregg Araki, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Brady Corbet
- International Trailer
- Mysterious Skin Book Reading
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However, I still believe that this is one of the best films I have ever seen to this day.
At the heart of this movie is a tragic loss of childhood innocence, and the consequences that it can have on a person as he or she develops. And in this case, those consequences are devastating and heartbreaking. It also takes a look at how two people can react to the same event, and cope with it in radically different ways. This film will leave you with an intense sense of remorse and possibly deep disgust; leaving you questioning how some people could possibly do the things they do and still carry on from day to day.
Most importantly, this film is honest. Its portrayals of life in a small town and the effects of horrible events on people are deep and complex, thoroughly thought out. It does not whitewash the awfulness of pedophilia, or try to romanticize the ignorance and intolerance that can be pervasive in small towns. And by the end of the movie, you will want nothing more than to be able to reach through the screen and comfort the two broken little boys that the film is based upon.
"I wished with all my heart that we could just leave this world behind. Rise like two angels in the night and magically disappear."
Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbett deliver amazing performances, exploring a range and depth of emotion often missing in film. Both young men portray their character's unique perspective on the world perfectly: Gordon-Levitt in a numb and even nihilistic fashion, Corbett as a naive and trusting soul who has been gravely injured at a deep, psychological level.
The film rests in the same category of cinema as works such as "The Mudge Boy" and "My Own Private Idaho." This is perhaps the most phenomenally dark gay-coming-of-age film to date!
The themes and issues of child molestation stand apart from those of homosexuality and the two are not confused, even in the minds of the protagonists. Gordon-Levitt's character is avowedly gay while Corbett's is not. The clear distinction between pedophilia and homosexuality is both welcome and refreshing.
Personally I am appalled at the 1-star rating some users have given this film for its content. The film is graphic, disturbing, and shockingly provocative. Yet the characters are believable and likable over-all, the direction is superb, and the whole work is enthralling.
Michelle Trachtenberg and Jeffery Licon deliver sound performances in their respective supporting roles.
Five stars are given because Amazon won't allow me to give six.