I’m a sucker for neo-Nazi movies. I know exactly what to expect. It starts with a mama’s boy, small but not freakishly so, from an average middle class family – in all senses of the word, a teenager. He has a black friend growing up, with whom he shares a strictly 80s fashion sense. His hair is shaggy, paving the way for the inevitable head-shaving scene, which doubles as the “there’s no turning back now” scene. But none of these are more important than the pivotal mother/father duo.
The mother is necessarily ailing, absent or mentally deranged, but otherwise perfectly lovely. And the father? Well the father/son relationship has to be roughly as stable as one of the following scenarios:
1. Andy Griffith and Aunt Bee die tragically in a general store fire started by some street thugs. Andy’s estranged brother, Vladimir Putin, must return home to become Opie Taylor’s legal guardian.
2. The tattooed guy from the cast of The Real World Cancun adopts a baby during shooting. Producers hold several meetings before giving the thumbs up.
3. Joaquin Phoenix and Christian Bale both have sex with the same stripper in Los Angeles one night and decide to get gay married to care for the child until they get the paternity tests back. One thing leads to another and they forget to get divorced, grow beards instead.
Then tragedy ensues, the helpless teen seeks refuge with the wrong crowd, and somebody ends up stabbed/shot. See how easy writing screenplays is?
Skin is a neo-Nazi movie tried and true. If it throws a new loop into the mix it’s that the father is a Holocaust survivor. The son, who basically thinks his dad should up and get over it already, ends up sabotaging his own life until it’s vaguely reminiscent of Auschwitz. Why does he do this? I don’t know. But I think they talk about it in Civilization and its Discontents. Is it a believable story? Depends. How much do you like your mother?
Skin plays Wednesday, July 29, at 10:15pm at the Castro. Info.