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Mysterious Skin
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Mysterious Skin – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Ten years after being abused by his little-league baseball coach (Sage), Neil (Gordon-Levitt) is earning cash as a gay hustler on the streets of New York.
He still says that that summer of abuse was the only time he ever felt loved.
One of his little-league team-mates, Brian (Corbet), has two gaps in his childhood memories.
He’s always convinced himself that the missing memories are due to an alien abduction, but as he gets older, he changes his mind about this lifelong belief and decides it’s time to seek out the truth.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Gripping performances from the young victims, the teenagers they become and their abusive coach are the strongest elements of this disturbing film.
Particularly shocking is the creepiness with which the coach makes the abuse seem natural and normal and the contrasting ways his victims react to the resulting trauma.
The film doesn’t pass judgment, letting viewers reach their own conclusions. Neil, for example, doesn’t become gay because of the abuse — he’s quite clear that he was already gay before the abuse began — in fact, it was a crush on the coach that pushed them together.
That being the case, Neil’s story becomes little more than a character study of a rebellious teen, searching for himself. As for Brian, we are simply watching him discover what we know already.
So ultimately, the film is unrewarding, as the conclusion provides no enlightenment for the viewer, as there’s no real closure for the good guys and no comeuppance for the baddies.

Opens nationwide 20 May 2005

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