Film Review: The Beaver (2011)

| 6 August , 2011 | Reply

Directed By: Jodie Foster
Staring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence
Sassi’s Star Rating: 4/5

Depressed and suicidal businessman Walter Black (Mel Gibson) destroys everything he touches. He has destroyed his once profitable toy company, he has destroyed his once happy family, and he\’s very close to completely destroying himself. It\’s only when an alcohol fuelled rampage finds him attached to a beaver hand puppet that Black begins to learn to live again – using the toy as an intermediary through which he can begin to reconnect to the world.

It all seems a bit ridiculous right? A washed out business man sticks his hand up the backside of a stuffed beaver, starts talking in a northern-Englandish accent and we\’re supposed to care? Well if you go see it, you will care. I\’ll be honest I walked into this film with low expectations, and I walked out really impressed.

The Beaver is a really good film. That\’s probably inarticulate but I feel like that\’s the best way to describe it. It\’s moving, it\’s witty, and it\’s courageous which in my mind makes it the best type of cinema. Everyone who got involved in this film at every stage took a huge risk by doing so from the actors, to the producers, to Foster as director. Yes it\’s flawed in certain respects, and it\’s far from a perfect film; but it\’s brave in doing something different, which means you can feel the fight that it took to get this film made in almost every scene.

Despite what you think about Mel Gibson personally, it\’s hard to deny his outstanding performance as Walter Black. The tender moments between he and his son (young Riley Thomas Stewart) are wonderful in the film.

Jodie Foster is remarkable as usual both in her direction of, and performance in, this film. She takes a character that could easily have been overlooked and made it as much Meredith\’s story as it was Walter\’s. Their story is beautifully paralleled by Yelchin and Lawrence who bring weight and sincerity to what would certainly have otherwise been a cliché young romance between the braniac and the misunderstood cheerleader. Their mature and grounded performances set them apart as ones to watch.

Yes there has been discussion over the way the film chooses to end. Of course after an hour and a half Mel Gibson\’s accent starts to grate a little. There are one or two choice moments of blatant Hollywood corn, and some aspects of the storyline are a bit unrealistic (and we\’re not actually referring to the universal acceptance of the talking hand puppet here). Despite this The Beaver is definitely worth a chance.

If you want to see a piece of cinema that provokes thought as well as emotion. Or if you want to see filmmaking with a heart then afford The Beaver some consideration. If anything it is definitely worth the experience and the vigorous debate you\’ll be able to participate in afterwards.

The Beaver is in Cinemas now


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