Mysterious Skin (2004) starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brady Corbet, Elisabeth Shue, Michelle Trachtenberg directed by Gregg Araki Movie Review

Mysterious Skin (2004)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Michelle Trachtenberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Mysterious Skin (2004)

It's a Mystery to Me

Brian (Brady Corbet) knows that when he was a child back in 1981 something happened to him, he woke up with a nosebleed but can't remember what went on, he thinks he was abducted by aliens and he is now obsessed with alien abductions. Meanwhile Neil (Joseph Gordon Levitt) can remember everything which happened during his childhood having been sexually abused by his little league coach and now as a young man has turned to turning tricks, picking up men in the park. But maybe these two kids who grew up in the same town can be the answer to each others problems.

In looking for information on "Mysterious Skin" I spotted two things which made me smile. The first of which was a comment in response to a series of negative opinions which pointed out the reviewers probably hadn't read the book which the movie was based upon. That may well be true but I am of the belief you shouldn't need to have read the novel for a movie to work and sadly "Mysterious Skin" doesn't work for me having not read the novel. That doesn't mean I couldn't follow the story of two boys different experiences of growing up but it was incredibly flat and not engaging.

The second thing I saw mentioned was in relation to why people rate this movie so highly. One person said that maybe it was the shock of director Araki not backing down when it comes to its portrayal of abuse and male prostitution whilst some others mentioned the popularity of Joseph Gordon-Levitt swaying some audiences who might not have got the movie but had enjoyed watching Levitt getting his shirt off and so on. In fairness to Levitt and the rest of the cast they put in committed performance which contributes to the shock factor especially during some of the scenes which Levitt had to film but I do believe that star power and shock power has resulted in increasing this movies rating.

What this all boils down to is that "Mysterious Skin" didn't do it for me and found it one of those movies which was hard to get in to and stay interested in. Maybe for those who have read the novel or who are fans of its cast it is different but in my book this has limited appeal.