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September 25, 2005

{     Mysterious Skin     }    

myst-skin.jpg "Fuck me up the ass with your hot teenage cock." So, finally Greg Araki got the idea to remove his tongue from his cheek and make a film that makes you bite your tongue. Where his previous films like Nowhere, Doom Generation, and Splendor were all Generation-X artifact draped in camp and great soundtracks, Mysterious Skin even spirals along something very similar to a "plot." By dropping the camp that ran integrally thru his other movies, Araki has used this film to turn those cliches into something else. Araki looks at child abuse, turning tricks in small towns, and alien abductions (which apparently to those who choose not to accept it are just a metaphor for having been sexually molested) with an unflinching intensity that brings Todd Solondz to mind. This is easily his most cohesive film to date, although not everyone will want to watch a movie about a baseball coach who molests his team, or see Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock From The Sun) getting beaten over the head with a shampoo bottle while being raped in the bathtub, and there are admittedly way too many shots of men with mustaches looking back over their shoulders from the doggy position. Set in a small "butt crack of a town" in Kansas. The movie is based on the vague relation between two boys. Forgiving character names... the blonde kid with glasses lives alone with his over-protective mother and has re-occurring nosebleeds spurred on by constant dreams and revelations that make him think that he was abducted by aliens (which leads to bug-eyed notebook sketches that kind of makes you think that if he had any sense of wonder he could be the local Napoleon Dynamite). Then of course there is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the pretty boy, who was first molested by his blonde, bodacious baseball coach when he was eight years old. The first time, and there are many, goes down on a kitchen floor covered with cereal, "like a broken kalaidoscope." This inspires him firstly to kidnap an older boy on Halloween, force him to lay down and put two bottle rockets in his mouth and tells the kid he'll kill him if he moves. The bottle rockets scorch his face and to calm him he pulls the kid's pants down and gives him a handjob. Problem solved. As he matures he becomes the local trick at the local park, resulting in a scene in which he has his come gargled by Richard Riehle (Office Space) and even rubs the HIV lesions on the back of a yellow-teethed Billy Drago. There are no cut scenes, every one is painfully uncomfortable in its own special way. Break the ice with someone special... Contributed by Tony Boggs

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I've always found araki film to be more style over substance, which makes Mysterious Skin to be all the more satisfying. The combination of Araki and the kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun did not exactly make me run out to the theater, but it has definitely served as a high point for the year. Too many times this year I've seen "established" directors coast by on their reputations with so-so films while this jem snuck up and sucker punched me, making me almost forget about wasting 2 hours of my life on "Splendor".

Posted by: Eric at September 25, 2005 6:27 PM
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