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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Mel Gibson's Mullet of Piety

I read a review of Gibson's film that reflects my skepticism about Mel's newfound image as the persecuted victim of Anti-Christian hatred....

Ever since his star began to rise after the 1979 Australian thriller Mad Max, Mel Gibson hasn't seemed fully alive on screen unless he's being tortured and mutilated. In the Road Warrior and Lethal Weapon films, as well as such one-shots as Conspiracy Theory (1997) and The Patriot (2000), Gibson courted martyrdom, and he achieved it. He won an Oscar for his labors in Braveheart (1995), which ends with its hero managing to scream "FREEEEE-DOM!!" as he's drawn and quartered. Gibson snatched the pulp movie Payback (1999) away from its writer-director, Brian Helgeland, to make the torture of his character even more gruelingly explicit: He added shots of his toes being smashed by an iron hammer. Payback: That's what almost all of Gibson's movies are about (including his 1990 Hamlet.) Even if he begins as a man of peace, Mad Mel ends as a savage revenger...Gibson has said that what moves him most about the Christ story is that Jesus was whipped, scourged, mocked, spat on, had spikes driven through his hands and feet, and was left to die on the cross—and that he didn't think of payback; he thought of forgiveness. But by wallowing in his torture and death for two hours, the director of The Passion of the Christ (Newmarket) suggests that he's thinking of anything but...

Mel has made a living glamourizing revenge fantasies and glamourizing warfare. I'm not going to pay to see his sick obsessions superimposed on the life of Jesus...

Of course, Mel, the man of God, is not too happy about the criticism of his movie. His response to his critics is nothing short of Christlike...

About Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist who implied Gibson's father is "a Holocaust denier," the director had some choice – and inflammatory – words: "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog."

Isn't it "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you", Mel? Don't confuse a mullet with a halo.

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