In the same Kansas town, at the age of eight Neil McCormick
and Brian Lackey both have profound experiences that will
forever change their lives. Brian wakes up having lost five
hours of his life, he grows up convinced that he has been
abducted by aliens. Neil is sexually awakened following an
encounter with a pedophiliac football coach, twisted by his
experience he uses his sexuality as a weapon. Unable to be
contained by such a small town Neil is drawn to New York and
Brian through his half memories is drawn to Neil, their meeting
illuminates their past and provides a form of resolution for
Skin is directed by Gregg Araki, who seems to have spent
his career in exploring the seedy side of human nihilism in
such films as The Doom Generation, Nowhere, and Totally
F*cked Up, offers us another slice of sexual angst and
general confusion. Based on the superior novel of the same
name by Scott Heim, it represents one of Araki's better films.
Thematically, the movie explores the same twisted landscape,
though doesn't quite elevate itself into the same league as
other movies like Happiness and Palindromes.
principle actors all acquit themselves admirably. Brady Corbet,
who plays Brian, is a million miles from his portrayal of
Alan Tracy in Thunderbirds. He plays Brian as a bittersweet
teen obviously traumatised by whatever happened to him at
eight, finding difficulty in his sexual relationship. Joseph
Gordon-Levitt is almost unrecognisable from his role of Tommy
in 3rd Rock from the Sun. His journey, as Neil, into
degradation and self loathing is charted with harrowing accuracy.
Michelle Trachtenberg has never looked as good as Wendy, Neil's
female friend, and as an actress she has grown significantly
in her abilities since she played Buffy's sister in Buffy
the Vampire Slayer.
The biggest fault with the film is that if you haven't worked
out what happened to Brian when he was eight, half an hour
into the film, the reveal, about forty minutes in, kind of
ruins the ending of the film - making it feel little more
than a reprise for all those who were either asleep or not
The soundtrack is beautiful, as it should be, written by The
Cocteau Twins, who have been producing their particular form
of ethereal music for many years now. Played through 5.1 or
DTS it adds a whole new layer of ambience to the film.
disc is resplendent with extras. Sound is either stereo, 5.1
or DTS, but you really must use the latter two to get the
best out of the soundtrack. The film comes with an informative
director's commentary and various interviews, including the
original novelist (he looks twelve for gods sake), plus the
trailer thrown in for good measure.
a good film and well worth adding to your collection of edgy
films. Problem is the themes have been better explored elsewhere.