Directed by Gregg Araki, Mysterious Skin traces parallel plots of Neil McCormick (Gordon-Levitt) in his life a teenage male prostitute, and Brian Lackey (Brady Corbet) on his obsession with alien abductions – both of whom went to the same school. The supporting cast consists of Neil’s neglectful mother (Elizabeth Shue, in a very understated role); Eric (Jeff Licon), Neil’s gay lover, and Neil’s childhood friend Wendy (Michelle Trachtenberg) who adds more sexual tension to the plot.
Over time, Brian increasingly comes to think that Neil is the key to solving the mystery behind his alien abduction story. The film is intense at times – it was rated NC-17 in the US, the highest censorship rating a film can get there – due to its graphic depictions of homosexual sex, and the underlying premise of how the stories of the two characters hinge around aliens may at first sound bizarre, but at its core the film’s finale tells a very tragic story on a serious issue (without giving too much away).
Rating: 4 / 5