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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

260. The Beaver

    My feet hurt. We have had a fabulous day in Barcelona. What a fantastic city. The palace, the old Olympic stadium, and Las Ramblas were on the agenda.
    We walked all the way from Barcelona Sants station, near the Nou Camp to the beach near Barceloneta.
    For the uninitiated, that is a heck of long way.
    When we got there, we diverted to the wonderful Yelmo Icaria cinema. Yes, of course, we did. There was no way watching a movie on a Spanish screen could be passed up.
    I'd sussed out that all of the films at this cinema are shown in their original language rather than dubbed into Spanish.
    Also, I noticed that The Beaver is being removed from UK screens before we get back. It all fitted perfectly.
    So, Mrs W and I took off our footwear, rested our tootsies and settled down to Jodie Foster's movie with Spanish subtitles.
    The Beaver has been taking a bit of a kicking from critics back home.
    I was left wondering whether that is because everyone, with good reason, loathes Mel Gibson or the storyline is just too downbeat.
    Either way I reckon it didn't deserve the panning. Sure enough, it is no classic but neither is it a turkey.
    And if every film which included a ghastly real-life character among its cast got badly rated we might as well abandon the Oscars.
    Gibson is actually very good as the suicidal Walter Black whose life is saved - ironically by his newly developed schizophrenia.
    His second personality, of course, takes the shape of a hand puppet called The Beaver.
    This enables Black to get his life back on track without having to really be himself.
    This goes down well with his very young son who loves to be spending fun time with his dad again.
    His staff also embrace their new leader because, through The Beaver, his creative juices start to flow.
    But his wife (Foster) is only temporarily bought in and his elder son (the excellent Anton Yelchin) just avoids him like the plague.
    As said, Gibson does a good if not great turn as Black. I'm not sure modelling the Beaver's voice on Ray Winstone worked - his Cockney started to sound a bit Dick Van Dyke too often for my liking.
    But there are a couple of scenes which are particularly dramatic and Gibson handles angst-ridden well.
    Foster directs well but her performance on screen is surprisingly low-key. I've been a big fan for a long time but even I have to admit that it's been a long-time since she was at her gutsy best.
    Overall I reckon The Beaver is brave. Depression is not an easy subject to tackle in a movie but those of us that have seen it at close hand will recognise much of what happens.
    Some will think this introduction of a glove puppet is ridiculous, Mrs W and I thought that it brought in an effective new dimension.
    So overall, we're going for a rating of 7/10.

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260. The Beaver

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