Is Mel Gibson back on top form as a leading man? I’ll ponder the past..Frank considers the present in BLOODFATHER..
Mel Gibson is Back! And enjoying something of a career renaissance. Hacksaw Ridge looks to be an incredible war movie and marks a return to the Director’s Chair and potential Oscar glory. A sequel to Passion of the Christ is also on the cards. And yet, we all miss Mel Gibson, movie star. Indeed, I’d go further and say that Mel himself missed his days as a romantic / action hero. Would it really have been so bad to make Lethal Weapon 5?
Films such as Lethal Weapon, Ransom, Payback and Conspiracy Theory contained his darker side with their verbal violence and physical challenge, tempering his mad genius. Is he flawed? Hell, yes. But as his protégé, Robert Downey Junior pointed out, a town like Hollywood needs to be more forgiving ‘or you are in the wrong business’ (it’s worth pointing out that Mel insured Downey to work on Singing Detective when countless others wouldn’t, a few years pre Iron Man renaissance). Mel also puts his money where his mouth is, investing in PTSD rehabilitation programmes for veterans (he keeps that more discreet than many of his counterparts might).
Oh and there is no topping Braveheart as a work of passionate and romantic epic historical revisionism. Indeed, it was watching examples of sheer craftsmanship and inspiration of that nature, paired with charismatic leading man presence, that made seeing Gibson’s falls from grace and resulting wilderness period all the more tragic in every sense.
But with BLOODFATHER, the man has a shot at a return to the leading man game. The question is..does he succeed at recapturing that old screen presence and magic? FRANK MENGARELLI investigates..Take it away, Frank ‘BIG SMILE..BIG SMILE!’…
To call BLOOD FATHER the return of Mel Gibson is not correct. Gibson never went anywhere, Hollywood has just turned their back on him. He was so much fun to watch MACHETE KILLS and THE EXPENDABLES 3. Gibson might be a little older now, greyer, and still struggling with his misgivings – but he has not lost any of his ferocious screen presence or his star power.
BLOOD FATHER is lean, thrilling, and executed wonderfully. The film doesn’t try to reinvent the sub-genre wheel, it knows exactly what it is, and stands tall amongst this year’s small indie dramas, studio tentpoles, and flagship franchises.
The screenplay by Peter Craig, which he adapted from his own novel with Andrea Berloff, is packed with action, pulpy dialogue, and humor that is effortlessly delivered by Gibson.
Gibson is supported by an eclectic cast made up of William H. Macy, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, and a nasty and devilishly fun Michael Parks. It’s always a joy to see Parks show up on screen; especially when the material is perfectly catered to his eccentric acting style.
Gibson’s performance is quite special in this film. It is equal parts emotional as it is a total ass-kicker. His story in the film is organically rooted in redemption. Everyone knows Gibson’s recent transgressions, and that’s what makes his performance and this film so special.
Everybody relax, Frank’s here! After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, FRANK MENGARELLI decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank’s favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone, Abel Ferrara, Lars von Trier, Steve McQueen and Spike Lee.
Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT (1992), THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS.