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Monday, May 26, 2008

MYSTERIOUS SKIN (2005)

‘Queer cinema’ stylist Gregg Araki has a mainstream breakthrough, with no loss of ‘queer sensibility,’ on this stunning coming-of-age story that might be considered shocking if it weren’t so moving. Araki’s canny parallel structured script, from Scott Heim’s novel, details a decade’s worth of past events that tie two unlikely boys together, and the different paths they take before finding in each other a way past their personal demons. Araki gets beautiful performances out of his cast, although Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the sullen, charismatic gay hustler rightly claimed special praise, and manages to give even the basest characters understanding, if not forgiveness. Though a final epiphany on Christmas Eve lies just beyond Araki’s current abilities (it’s Pedro Almodovar territory), you still can see & feel the shape & humanity of his concept.

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