Posted by: Jonathan Barron | January 26, 2010

Mel Gibson May See Light at the “Edge of Darkness”

There is no sense arguing a couple of facts.  First, at one time Mel Gibson was one of the biggest Hollywood stars in the world.  Two, and most importantly, he is one of the most talented filmmakers working in the industry.  And finally, I am a huge Gibson fan…for better or worse.  And now, after seven years of being absence in front of the camera, Mr. Gibson is returning to the big screen with “Edge of Darkness”.  So far, he is getting good reviews (as far as his performance).  Whether it will perform at the box office is yet to be seen.

The first Gibson movie I ever watched was “Maverick”.  It is still one of the most entertaining movies I have ever seen.  It is fast paced, action packed and the dialogue is very witty.  I was amazed at Mel’s acting ability and comedic timing.  After seeing this film, I was hooked and had to see more.  I followed that film up with “Braveheart” and my fascination only increased.  Here is a guy who is versatile in front of, and behind the camera.

Unless you’ve been in a coma the last 6 years, you know that Mr. Gibson has become a very controversial figure as a filmmaker and in his private life.  When “The Passion of the Christ” was released, it launched a nation wide phenomenon.  It still remains one of the most successfull independant films in history.  Upon it’s release, it was viewed by many as overly violent and over the top.  Most importantly, however, it was seen by many in the Jewish Community as “Anti-Semitic”.  Those who have seen the film have the ability to decide for themselves.

Approaching the release of his followup project, “Apocalypto”, Gibson was arrested for drunk driving.  It made tabloid headlines across the country.  Upon his arrest, it was reported that Mr. Gibson made some “Anti-Semitic” remarks to a police officer that only made matters worse.  This confirmed suspicions, in many circles, that Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” was an “Anti-Semitic” film by a biggoted filmmaker.  Gibson apologized for the incident and has spent the last few years attempting to rebuild the image that he once enjoyed.

This weekend, “Edge of Darkness” will be release in theaters.  In many ways this will be the ultimate indicator of Gibson’s redemption.  Time will tell (as well as critical consensus and box office returns) if the public has forgiven the actor.  I forgave him long ago.  If Hollywood can rally to the defense of Roman Polanski, a known child rapist, why can’t there be redemption for Mr. Gibson.  Indeed, Polanski is praised the world over for his talents behind the camera for films like “The Pianist” (which won an Oscar for Best Director), and “Rosemary’s Baby”.  Hollywood seemed to forgive this man long ago.  If Mel Gibson provides quality films in front of, and behind the camera, I would find it hypocritical for Hollywood to not embrace this man once again.

I will be seeing “Edge of Darkness” this weekend.  If I am the only person in the theater, so be it.  I do not know what is in any man or woman’s heart.  However, I will continue to be a fan of his work and support it as long as I feel there is quality behind it.  If we are willing to give Tiger Woods and Kanye West another chance because we respect there craft, let’s hold the same standard for Mel Gibson.

Jonathan Barron

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