Mel Gibson’s slow path to redemption continues apace. Next, another another directorial turn.
Like his other films—including Apocalypto, not mentioned on the above poster—this one seems to fall into the “brutal, but moving” camp. It’s about a WWII-era pacifist who volunteered to serve in battle.
Whatever his flaws as a human being—and we all have them, don’t lie to yourself about that—Gibson knows human suffering and raw emotion, and how to portray them on screen, both as an actor and a director. Hell, maybe the reason he’s so good at it is because of those ugly parts of himself that he hates, and cannot fully control.
Intimacy with pain and suffering from any source makes it easier to empathize with the pain and suffering of others. You know, deep down in your bones, what it’s like to be tormented by that which is out of your control, you know what’s it’s like to desperately long for some kind of peace, what it’s like to need hope. You know what it’s like to be small, and weak, and human, helpless before the onslaught of a hostile and brutal universe.
Gibson made a film about Jesus Christ, and for that was loathed and hated. Many in Hollywood have done worse than he, but their follies and crimes were excused, while his have been amplified and endlessly repeated. He suffered for doing the right thing.
It’s hard for me not to see a parallel between Gibson and Doss, even if Gibson himself doesn’t see it. I can only hope that by slowly working to overcome his private miseries, and by slowly working to rebuild his reputation as an artist, Gibson can find redemption, both as an artist, and as a human being. In my opinion, he deserves it.