Mel
Gibson is back, people. I’ll talk a bit about the controversy around
him later, but separating art from the artist, Gibson is simply one of
the most talented creatives working in Hollywood. After his stint in the
Hollywood doghouse, (which the movie parallels in an interesting way)
he’s back as a leading man in the unexpectedly awesome ‘Blood Father’.
Director Jean-Francois Richet doesn’t have a ton of hits behind him, but
he got all the right ingredients for Blood Father.
It’s a relentless, brutal, and frequently hilarious movie that just
reminded me how good Gibson can be. This is my opinion alone, but man
I’m glad he’s back and working again.

The
plot of Blood Father is as straight forward as they come. A tough
ex-con’s estranged teenage daughter gets caught up with a bad crowd, and
it’s up to him to get her out of it. It’s a pretty basic plot, but
while it doesn’t break new ground, it does stick to its pulpy, B-movie
premise the entire time. Blood Father has bad nazi bikers, violent
sicario’s and one liners thrown out at a staggering rate. What makes it
so much better than it sounds is the relationship between Gibsons
character, John Link, and his daughter Lydia (played by Erin Moriarty,
who I’m convinced is Alison Lohman). Their relationship feels so
authentic, and John’s bond to his daughter never feels forced. They both
take cracks about the others shortcomings and mistakes like old
friends, and it makes Blood Father one of the best Shane Black/buddy
cop-type movies in recent memory.

I
want to single out Gibson in particular, because without him, I’m not
sure this movie would be nearly as good. In particular, the movie does
something super interesting, by having our context for his real-world
persona play a huge factor in the movie. I’m surprised I haven’t read
about this more around the web, because it’s a smart way to bring people
back aboard the Gibson-train. For instance, his first line in the movie
is at an AA meeting, (and I apologize for butchering this, but it’s
along these lines) he says “I’ve been sober for two years now, and I
know I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’m trying to do better”. It’s
really on-the-nose for anyone who knows about his behind the scenes
drama, but you can tell it’s Mel Gibson trying to make amends for what
he’s done through the medium he’s most comfortable in: acting and film making.

I’m
not trying to defend his actions, because the things he’s said on tape
are indefensible. However, I do think that everyone makes mistakes and
are equally capable of change. Mel Gibson was on track to becoming one
of the best working directors and storytellers, and I hope that he’s
learned from his mistakes and taken a serious look in the mirror.
Judging by his passion (no pun intended) on screen in Blood Father and
pure talent in front of the camera, it certainly seems like he’s getting
back on track. Braveheart, Passion of the Christ and the incredibly
underrated masterpiece Apocalypto were all proof of his immense skill
behind the camera as well. I hope this is just the beginning of a
successful Gibsonaissance, and he keeps his energy on the amazing art he
creates, and not wasted on hate and self-destruction.

Conveniently,
I’m checking out his most recent behind-the-camera project tomorrow at a
screening for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, which I’ve only heard praise for so far.
I’ll be writing that up this week as well, so check back for that soon.
As always, feel free to hit me up on Facebook with opinions,
recommendations, or critiques if you feel like it. Thanks for reading!

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