We’re a long way from 1984’s “The River” (dir. Mark Rydell) in which Mel Gibson played Tom Garvey, the head of a farming family in a battle to save its estate. Gibson’s Garvey showed steadfast human values: moral rectitude, love, and a will deadset to get him and his family past lousy circumstances. What happened? The Peekskill, N.Y. stud has turned into the butt of late-night jokes, his undoing is his own. He’s become more like Martin Riggs, his unpredictable and wild character in “Lethal Weapon.”
Whether he suffers from a bipolar disorder or character-fed flashbacks, I would infer from his most recent stunt that Mel Gibson has been 86’d from the game of showbiz for good. His agent dropped him the day after the infamous call to his former girlfriend and I’m guessing certain associates and colleagues have distanced themselves from him. Last night David Letterman unveiled his ten reasons why Mel Gibson is behaving this way (No. 9: “Driven insane by World Cup vuvuzelas”). And now it’s going to be hard to surf youtube channels without seeing one mashup after another scathing mashup of Mr. Gibson.
Theories probably abound as to when and where the “break” occured but as far as I’m concerned the Mel Gibson we knew before left us a while ago already. What he’s done is unacceptable, I just wonder if his his entire career has also been tainted. When someone does something so amoral, it raises questions on an entire opus. It’s difficult to consider Elia Kazan’s career without bringing up his behavior during the Hollywood trials.