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Mysterious Skin (Original Theatrical Director's Cut)

4.3 out of 5 stars 340 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Mysterious Skin (Original Theatrical Director's Cu

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

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: Multiple Formats, 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:
    Adults Only
  • 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 (340 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,741 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mysterious Skin (Original Theatrical Director's Cut)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By I. Sondel VINE VOICE on April 11, 2006
Format: DVD
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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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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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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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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