Mysterious Skin ★★½

I like most of how it is shot: close, intimate and uncomfortable. It’s unflinching attempt to accurately depict the horrors of the subject matter, and the psychological results it can have on a person, are noble to say the least. However the majority of performances (especially from every child actor) are tremendously awkward and mostly unconvincing, with the talented actors being hindered by the corny on the nose dialogue. There are a couple of solid, well executed dramatic scenes that I thought worked well. Unfortunately for me though, the hokey writing and mixed acting really pulled down what could have been a pretty powerful story. 

It’s not surprising that the film was edited on final cut, it’s not particularly cinematic, with strange scene transitions that constantly fade in and out of eachother without any pace or momentum. That’s not to say the editing was all poor of course, most of the time I found it to be simple, clean and effective. 

It honestly reminded me of 13 reasons why at points, which is not surprising seeing as Araki directed 4 episodes of the similarly confused and heavy handed show later in his career. If you want a more cohesive film that covers similar themes and is much more entertaining, elegant and interesting, just watch Happiness (1998).