Director: Jodie Foster
Stars: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin
It’s impossible to view Mel Gibson’s utterly natural performance here without thinking of the beast within this once-beloved actor. The Beaver was made in-between his drunken, sexist and anti-Semitic encounter with highway cops and his violent and appalling telephone threats against his ex-girlfriend.
Yet this doesn’t and shouldn’t distract us from the film’s sober intent. Director Jodie Foster and screenwriter Kyle Killen use blunt symbols to illustrate this darkly comic story of Gibson’s Walter Black, a man fighting clinical depression in his own unique way: by letting a rodent hand puppet speak for him.
The Beaver doesn’t pretend to be a normal situation. Walter’s wife (played by Foster) and family humour him because they’re desperate. Gibson’s career as a popular actor may well be finished; The Beaver at least reminds us of a time when his art was much bigger than his bite.