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Mysterious skin - Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Trachtenberg, Gregg Araki

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Based on the acclaimed novel by Scott Heim, Mysterious skin follows two boys on the cusp of adulthood in Kansas. Brian (Brady Corbet) is a shy introvert, obsessed by his own possible UFO abduction, while Neil (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a cruel and icy beauty who sexualises his every encounter. As each of them follows their own very different journey, they seek to come to terms with the incident that has scarred their current lives and to their surprise unites them. From the director of The Doom Generation and The living end, a powerfully emotional and subtly political film which, like Mystic River, explores the deeply profound ramifications of abuse. The parallel tales of two damaged kids whose only hope for resolution lies in their convergence is as lively and imaginative as anything Araki has ever done and is more heart-breaking than most films ever conceive of being.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Mysterious skin image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama crime paedophile repressed memory teen sexual abuse Kansas UFO abduction baseball coach

Persons of interest

  • Brady Corbet .... Brian Lackey
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt .... Neil McCormick
  • Elisabeth Shue .... Mrs McCormick
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub .... Avalyn
  • Michelle Trachtenberg .... Wendy
  • Jeffrey Licon .... Eric Preston
  • Lisa Long .... Mrs Lackey
  • Bill Sage .... Coach
  • George Webster .... Young Brian
  • Chase Ellison .... Young Neil
  • Richard Riehle .... Charlie
  • Billy Drago .... Zeke
  • Kelly Kruger .... Deborah Lackey
  • Rachael Nastassja Kraft .... Young Deborah
  • David Alan Graf .... Gay Lumberjack
  • Forrest Fountain .... Jackson
  • Scott Heim .... Author
  • Gregg Araki .... Screenwriter
  • Gregg Araki .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Mysterious skin is brutal in its depiction of life: child sex abuse, alcoholism, UFOs, broken homes, divorce, small-town blues, stolen innocence, loneliness, sexuality, prostitution, insanity, paedophilia, disability, baseball. Man, it sucks! No-one is happy. Everyone is caught up in their past, reliving the same mistakes over and over again. The good part is that Gregg Araki doesn't try to shower anyone with Hollywood happy endings, he just presents what is (according to the story - see also Elephant).

Brady Corbet and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are awesome in their roles: Brady is lost in the central fact of his existence - mysterious missing minutes and hours; Joseph is so freaking cool about sex (not to mention sexy) that you worship him. The way that Scott Heim sets their stories in motion then aims them together is like a U-boat and a merchantman in World War II: whatever happens, it's going to end badly.

Mysterious skin is the kind of film that should be screened to high school students in Year 10. Don't censor it, don't sweep it under the carpet: see it.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen 16:9
  • Special features:
    • Trailers: Upcoming releases

Security censorship classification

R 18+ (High level sexual abuse themes, high level sexual violence, paedophile themes)

Surveillance time

107 minutes (1:47 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 18 August 2005
DVD rental: 22 February 2006
VHS rental: 22 February 2006
DVD retail: 20 July 2006

Cinema surveillance images

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