Lost in the Movies: Mysterious Skin as Twin Peaks Cinema #14 (podcast)

Mysterious Skin as Twin Peaks Cinema #14 (podcast)

This is a tale of two abused children who grow up into troubled young men. Brian Lackey (Brady Corbet) is a shy, reclusive UFO hunter and Neil McCormick (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a gay hustler; both of their far-apart lifestyles represent escape from and obsession with the trauma that fuels them. This of course reflects both the actual narrative of Twin Peaks, in which a fascinated detective hunts the secrets of a troubled young victim (although Brian, like Laura in Fire Walk With Me and The Secret Diary, is both detective and victim), and also the behind-the-scenes Twin Peaks meta-narrative, in which the creators discovered Laura Palmer's emotional depth only in the course of telling her supernatural mystery story. The duality of Mysterious Skin - two narratives connecting only in the end - is itself a very Lynchian structure. All of these observations, and much more, are developed in my lengthy analysis of the film, which also allows me to re-visit season three's relationship to the ending and legacy of Fire Walk With Me. Does the conclusion of Mysterious Skin present an alternative, more successful (if bittersweet) version of the older Cooper's alienated, bumbling attempts to bring Laura "home"? This podcast, one of the last I recorded for patrons (along with the episode I'll publish next month), is also one of the few Twin Peaks Cinema entries to document a movie influenced *by* Twin Peaks rather than working as a potential influence upon it (the director Gregg Araki is an avowed fan of Fire Walk With Me who would later cast Sheryl Lee in one of his movies). That lineage, and Mysterious Skin's complex weaving of denial, confrontation, and mythologization, make it an appropriate conclusion to the three-month "Traumatic Transformations" miniseries which incorporated Belladonna of Sadness and The Sweet Hereafter.

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by John McKelvey (DVD Exotica)

by Brett Steven Abelman (Babelwright)

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