Mel and the Maccabees

Mel Gibson is a rich, headstrong filmmaker. If he wants to make a movie about a Jewish hero, I don’t think there’s anybody who can stop him, right? Even if they protest loudly and in all the right media outlets.

Why would Mr Gibson want to make this film? I suspect it has something to do with his fetish for brutality.

It’s probably no consolation, but he’s likely to harm himself more than his adversaries on this. On the good side, a story gets told. On the bad, well, I leave it for the imagination.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Mel and the Maccabees

  1. Again, Mr. Counter Intuitive takes a different tack, Todd. What you characterize as a Gibson “fetish for brutality” could also just be otherwised characterized as did T. Hobbes in LEVIATHAN: ” Life in the state of war of every man against every man as: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (Chap. 13, para. 9)
    I don’t bring this other perspective up as a Gibson apologist. I do think his vision of “this world” could be something he wrestles with in every aspect of his daily life and gestalt; particularly having the sort of disagreeable chap as described commonly as his father.
    If you look at all aspects of his filmography, in addition to the spectacles of violence in PASSION and APOCALYPTO that he directed, he has always shown the personage of the raging antihero at times (obviously BRAVEHEART/PATRIOT etc.) But he’s also shown a deep down inner struggle very humanely in films like SIGNS, THE BEAVER, THE MAN WITH NO FACE, etc.
    He may personally, due to those demons, be the whack job his public encounters with the TMZ barracudas have helped him self-portray. But being a nut job doesn’t mean he is NOT also possessed by genius in his craft and art.
    Like everything else, time will shape his legacy. And I pray that this new film effort has at its genesis a sincere desire to repent of any residual anti-semitism not only within Gibson himself, but within any or all of us.

  2. Todd says:

    I respect that view. I’m aware of my own interior responses to his films. I thought Braveheart was a moving and well-done story. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but I found his (director’s) eye lingered a little too long on brutality. Patriot, too–excellent, but suspicious.

    I just found PotC to be over the top in that regard. And for that reason, I put it in the category of Cape Fear (1990)–a great story that I found myself unable to absorb.

    I’m willing to entertain the notion that I don’t have the stomach for brutality and Mel isn’t afraid to engage it. But it’s the difference between admiring a woman for her beauty and snatching a leer. There’s a line I prefer not to cross. And maybe I draw it rather conservatively. I also trust my intuition around fellow tortured souls. My own proclivity to addiction and compulsion leads me to view Mr Gibson with some … alertness, let’s say.

    My favorite film of his is still Tim. Followed closely by Braveheart. He is a great talent, but what the heck is he doing with his life and his craft?

  3. crystal says:

    I liked Tim and Braveheart too and my sister recently lent me a movie he’d done not to long ago, Edge of Darkness, that was ok. At first I was pretty impressed by PoC but the more times I watched it, the harder the extreme violence got to bear. Maybe he’s trying to redeem himself with the movie about the Maccabees?

  4. Liam says:

    I was able to absorb PoTC because, given what we know of ancient brutality (which of course wasn’t so different from modern brutality, just a lot more public and less technological and less intermediated), the reality was very likely much worse.

    One of the cruel arts human beings mastered early in our history was how to go to the limit of brutality of terror, torture and execution for maximum public effect (in British capital executions, for but one small horrible example, how to eviscerate someone while keeping him quite alive and very very conscious). We’ve now replaced that with weapons of mass destruction. PoTC gives just pungent hint of that human depravity; it has moral realism going for it.

    For me, the weird thing in the PoTC was the last sequence.

  5. crystal says:

    The last sequence was kind of neat – I don’t think any other Jesus movie has shown the actual resurrection itself :)

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