There's a scene, very late in Mysterious Skin, that feels so right that even the blow-by-blow account, which feels somehow unsatisfying, can't mask the power of what simply works.
Until the end, like some Bizarro version of Sleepless In Seattle (and I shudder to make the comparison), Neil played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Brian played by Brady Corbet, finally meet, and they meet on Christmas. Brian has waited a life time to find out the answers to the questions that have plagued him since he was 8 years old.
He wants to know why he blacked out for 5 hours. He wants to know why he had a bloody nose. He wants to know why he wet his bed. He's convinced that aliens abducted him. We, too, are waiting to find out the answer with Brian, and Araki holds this until the last ten minutes of the film. There is a remarkable maturity to allow Brian's character to be more than his obsession. His budding friendship with Eric, who introduces him to music he's never heard, who cares enough to get him a present (a sweater jacket!).
Rather than simply have Neil explain what happens, they break into a house. This is the house where it began. Where Brian no longer remember what happens to him. Araki uses setting to explain what happened. It is that sense of place, as Brian begins to recall what his mind supressed all those years. It is an awakening for Neil too. The house no longer belongs to coach, but the room looks the same, the kitchen cabinets look the same, the couch is about the right place. Does Neil really need to tell Brian what happens? Does he need to bring him closure? Perhaps not.
But if he's going to do it, there's no other way to do it, to give the full impact of what's going on than to be in the middle of where it happened. This is perhaps the single most riveting scene. Even beyond the American Beauty like cereal scene that is the focus of Neil's recollection of his time with Coach.
Araki leaves this scene at the moment when Brian fully realizes what happened to him, and to his life, and yet, without any sense of what will happen to Brian, or Neil, or how they'll live their lives from that point onward. It's at the point where Araki can't and shouldn't provide us more answers. Does Brian finally live his life, and maybe establish a relationship with Eric? Or Neil? Or even Avalyn? Does Neil finally reach meaning in his life?
We don't know. Araki leaves us much as he leaves Brian, knowing the truth, but not knowing what to do with it.
corrections - - Chick Corea (note the spelling) was a member of Miles Davis' band. - Graham Chapman, the only Graham in the group, is the only deceased mem...
1 month ago