When THE BEAVER came out earlier this year, it was treated like the cinematic equivalent of a car accident regardless of how good really was. You had Jodie Foster, still a Hollywood player but not so successful recently, you had a weird plot involving a hand puppet used by a depressed man to communicate with others and you had Mel Gibson perhaps the most unpopular man in Hollywood at the moment due to his use of racial and anti-Semitic slurs in a couple of well publicized incidents. It seemed like a recipe for an instant cinematic turkey.
Well it turns out THE BEAVER is pretty good. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is the best new movie I have seen this year. First off it’s one of the most unpredictable films I’ve seen. The dark ending I did not see coming gave the film a depth a self-help type happy ending would not have.
“I’m not ok” is the theme of THE BEAVER. “And it’s ok to say you need help”. Sometimes we need help and we cannot heal ourselves despite indications we may be getting better temporarily through a new mechanism.
Mel Gibson is terrific here. Perhaps he is exorcising publicly a few of his demons in playing the depressed suicidal businessman estranged from his family who attempts suicide but ends up with a talking beaver hand puppet that seemingly turns his life around. His worn face perfectly conveys the emotional state and the conflict within the character he plays. I’ve always thought he was underrated as an actor.
Jodie Foster’s direction is perfect. She doesn’t play around with character perspective but instead treats the events head on in a straightforward way which makes the twists and turns of the plot that more powerful.
An original film, great story, unique!