November 05, 2005

Mysterious Skin

OK, first a word of warning. Roger Ebert writes the following in his extremely positive review of this film, far and away the best film ever created by Gregg Araki. It:

is at once the most harrowing and, strangely, the most touching film I have seen about child abuse. It is unflinching in its tough realism; although there is no graphic sex on the screen, what is suggested, and the violence sometimes surrounding it, is painful and unsentimental.

So now that we're all clear on the fact that I'm discussing a movie about the aftermath of the sexual abuse of 8 year olds (something I'm guessing a fair amount of the country isn't going to want to watch no matter how good the film is), let me recommend this film to those of you who have the stomach for it. In fact, let me recommend it very highly. It's tough for me to put my finger on exactly why I liked it as much as I did, but two things come to mind. First, from everything from the plot design to the art direction to the music, the film does an excellent job of combining the both the troublingly and banal realism of these boys' experiences and their dreamy escapes to really give you a sense of these characters think and feel (or don't). And, secondly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does an excellent job as the darker of the two boys - the coach's favorite who doesn't supress his memories and turns into a cold hustler. Brady Corbet does a very nice job in the other lead role, but Gordon-Levitt is particularly impressive.

As A.O. Scott wrote of it in The New York Times:

Its subject matter may be grim - Mr. Araki addresses Neil's early and later sexual experiences with unflinching candor - but "Mysterious Skin" is infused with remarkable tenderness and beauty.

It's the best dvd rental I've made in weeks.

Posted by armand at November 5, 2005 09:25 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Movies

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