Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Beaver

August 11, 2011

This film is only in limited release in Ayala Cinemas now. This is despite starring two of the biggest stars of years past, Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. For good reason, this film is not an easy sell. This was a very difficult film to watch as you see the people in it go through a tumultuous roller coaster of emotion within its 90 minutes of screen time. 

The titular "Beaver" is a hand puppet. He was picked up from a dumpster by down and out toy company CEO Walter Black (Mel Gibson) who was then suffering a very deep depression. Speaking through "Beaver" in his hand though, Walter seemed to have gained renewed confidence and vigor in life, both as a professional at work and as a family man at home. Things come to a head when "Beaver" practically takes over Walter's mind, so Walter resorts to drastic measures.

Absurd, right? When the "Beaver" was in Walter's left hand, the film goes radically from drama to comedy to horror. Mel Gibson embodies his disturbed character with so much realistic psychosis, you'd think this was happening to him in real life. It was hard to separate Mel Gibson, the actor on screen with Mel Gibson of the sordid tabloid scandals.

Both as Walter's wife Meredith and as this film's director, Jodie Foster generally lets Mel run with the movie. Her acting chops are definitely still there. The poignancy in that expressive face of hers always gets me. As director, her way with dramatic progression in the film was also very effective. There is also a parallel story about Walter's teenage son Porter (Anton Yelchin) and his relationship with the similarly- troubled Norah (Jennifer Lawrence). These two young people are both very promising talents as they sensitively essay their respective roles. 

If you do decide to watch this, be ready to be uncomfortable. This is not easy to watch at all. However, be ready to listen to the well- written script by Kyle Killen. There were many moments when the words deliver messages like I have not heard them before. Good examples were when Walter + Beaver was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the "Today Show" and that when Norah delivers her valedictory speech. When you want to be challenged by a movie, "The Beaver" may be the movie for you.

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