Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

What about Mel Gibson?

An interesting one this. If you only read The Irish Times and only watch RTE and the BBC you might look at the above headline and reply: “What indeed? He is the star of the excellent Mad Max films. He …

Mon, Jul 19, 2010, 12:39

   

An interesting one this. If you only read The Irish Times and only watch RTE and the BBC you might look at the above headline and reply: “What indeed? He is the star of the excellent Mad Max films. He is some sort of bible thumper. He directed the fantastic Apocalypto. But what’s he done lately to interest me? Excuse me,  I have to go away and watch Cash in the Attic now.”

Yes! A disguise. That’s the answer.

Well, it is possible – just about possible — that he has done nothing outrageous. But (as you well know) there is a recording circling the internet that features a Mel-like voice shouting racist abuse at one Oksana Grigorieva. The extravagantly named Russian pianist, Mel’s former squeeze, has confirmed that she is the one mopping up the n-words, but Gibson’s people have yet to comment on the veracity of the tape.

With that in mind, it is not altogether surprising that The Irish Times, the BBC and other toffee-nosed media outlets have been somewhat cautious in reporting the matter. Added to the potential legal problems, there is a certain unease about how the recording was gathered. If you listen to it, you will note the queasy way Ms G allows The Other Voice as much rope as possible. Yes? Yes? What else?

None of this makes the abusive language any more acceptable, but it does make it harder to identify the goody in this story (something we all yearn to do with news).

Anyway, the real question is whether Gibson is now finally finished. We all recall the unfortunate business a few years back when he was pulled over by the police and delivered a truly staggering anti-Semitic outburst. “F**king Jews…the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” he ranted. He’s really only been on probation since then. Edge of Darkness, his first post-rant film as star, was not an enormous success. Apocalypto, made before the bust-up, but released in the aftermath, went down brilliantly with a great deal of critics, but too many seemed wary of praising a film by a man with this dubious recent history.

Now, Mel has been dropped by his agency and the vultures seem to be circling. Well, we know the man believes in resurrections. He may, indeed, require divine help to roll aside this particular stone.