Monday, June 20, 2005
Sydney Film Festival: Mysterious Skin review
Directed by Greg Araki, USA, 91 minutes, Rated R
Those familiar with the work of Greg Araki will know what to expect. The Doom Generation was a wild road movie full of graphic sex, cheesy gore and a career defining performance by Rose McGowen and Nowhere introduced the directors obsession with aliens and vaporized Christina Applegate and Traci Lords in the process. Mysterious Skin is the director's most assured work; it retains the explicit sexual drive that runs through all his films but adds an unexpected maturity to the proceedings.
Mysterious Skin is beautifully crafted, light years beyond his early work like Totally F***ed Up. Every scene looks perfect and the uninhibited performances are breathtaking. The leads are astounding; those who recognize Joesph Gordon-Nevitt and Brady Corbet from Third Rock From the Sun and Thunderbirds respectively will be amazed. The supporting cast also do wonders, Elizabeth Shue gives one of her finest showings since Leaving Las Vegas as Neil's mother and Michelle Trachtenberg, Buffy The Vampire Slayers little sister, is all grown up as Neil's best friend Wendy.
The film shows the boys early lives using their adult voices that make the shocking storyline even more disturbing. No matter how they decided to show the scenes as the baseball coach seduces the nine year old Neil with Atari's Asteroids and Kellogg's cereals, it was going to be squirm inducing and the film ranks as possibly the most disturbing film I have watched since the similarly themed Happiness. Like Todd Solondz's film, Mysterious Skin handles one of cinemas taboos with pitch-black humour and is an incredibly brave piece of cinema.
For full review check out www.cinephilia.net.au