Hack exploitation filmmakers like Todd Solondz ("Palindromes") or Larry Clark ("Kids") will quake in their boots at Gregg Araki’s innovative cinematic rendering of a troubling story about the different trajectory of two boys molested by their Little League baseball coach (Bill Sage) in Hutchinson, Kansas. Adapted from Scott Heim’s 1995 novel of the same name, Gregg Araki ("Totally F***ed Up") returns to directing after a five year absence to deliver an understated masterpiece of modern cinema that tackles the subject of pedophilia in a deeply personal and dramatically dynamic way. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a sublime performance as Neil McCormick, an emotionally traumatized victim of pedophilia who turns to prostitution to resolve his inner and outer conflicts. "Mysterious Skin" is a devastating yet beautiful film that honors its fragile characters with vital respect.
Not Rated. 99 mins. (A) (Five Stars - out of five/no halves)