Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Where normal people have a heart, Neil McCormick has a bottomless black hole", 28 Sept. 2008
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This review is from: Mysterious Skin [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I went to the local arts centre to see this movie with my partner. The opening ten minutes was such an uncomfortable experience, involving as it does the seduction of a preteen boy (the Neil McCormick in the title of this review) by his football coach, that we left the cinema there and then. But I kept hearing and seeing good reviews of this movie, and so I bought the DVD. I conclude that my partner and I should have stayed to see the whole film, because after the first ten minutes things become less uncomfortable and more interesting as we learn how the preteen's life progressed ten or so more years later. The older boy is played by Joseph Gordon Levitt. Linked to this story is that of another preteen boy, who in his later youth (played by Brady Corbet) has trouble accounting for a blank period in his life.

We tend to romanticise the past, especially childhood, even its most harrowing moments. I do not want to give the game away by elaborating further on the plot, but this is a serious film about a serious topic, as Brady Corbet states in the accompanying commentary. It does not shy away from issues such as male rape and paedophilia. As regards the sex scenes, I agree with Joseph Gordon Levitt when he says that none are gratuitous, for they tell the story. I have not read the novel from which the film derives, so I cannot comment on how well the adaptation fits, but the commentaries are unanimous in stating how close it runs

As already stated, the DVD comes with a commentary featuring the director (Gregg Araki) and the two leading male roles. Here we learn that the two preteen boys did not know what the movie was about in which they were starring. Was that fair? We also learn how the director managed to film what in effect would be unfilmable by adopting a strict point-of-view camera position. This, I think, adds to the sense of unease throughout the movie because, in effect, the viewer is caught and cannot escape.

Other extras include interviews with Arraki (20 minutes and more interesting and enlightening than the commentary); the author Scott Heim (25 minutes and even more interesting); the two male leads (15 minutes); and extracts from a Q&A at London's 2004 Film Festival.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Dec 2009 00:18:49 GMT
Many, many thanks! I was searching high and low to see what extras are on this DVD and thanks to your commentary I am ordering it immediately. I see that Amazon in the USA has an "original theatrical version" and an "unrated director's cut" but there is no clarification as to what the difference is. Any guesses?

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2009 12:42:45 GMT
Afraid not, Arbiter of Good Taste, but glad to have been of service.
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4.6 out of 5 stars (46 customer reviews)
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Reviewer

Nicholas Casley
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 121