Mysterious Skin

105 minutes

Independent filmmaker Gregg Araki (The Doom Generation) takes his first stab at adaptation (2004) with this screen version of Scott Heim's 1995 novel, and the result is flawed but frequently haunting. The narrative cuts back and forth between two damaged kids in a small Kansas town: Neil (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a cocky gay hustler who splits for New York City as soon as he can, and Brian (Brady Corbet), a shy nerd who suffers a dramatic blackout at age eight and later becomes convinced he was kidnapped and medically examined by aliens. The two stories converge powerfully at the end, but Corbet is so catatonic that Gordon-Levitt (an electric presence in the indie drama Manic) is forced to carry most of the movie. With Michelle Trachtenberg and Elisabeth Shue.

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