Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Icon Film Distribution

The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster and written by Kyle Killen, is an odd film. You'll no doubt already know it involves Mel Gibson's Walter Black, toy company CEO and family man, who in the midst of a breakdown turns to a discarded beaver puppet to communicate with the world and articulate his thoughts and emotions.

Understandably, Walter's family, friends and employees don't know how to engage with the beaver, who sounds a lot like Gibson's Edge of Darkness co-star Ray Winston. Audiences, too, may find it a little hard to digest at first but if you go with the conceit, you'll witness one of Mel Gibson's finest moments in front of the camera.

Impressive, too, is Anton Yelchin (of 2009's Star Trek) as Walter's eldest son, Porter. Unlike his dad who is struggling to find the man he once was, Porter is trying hard to be anyone else; his greatest fear was becoming his father, even before the beaver showed up.

Head cheerleader Norah (recent Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence), who is dealing with her own pain, provides some relief from Porter's home life, where mum (Foster) and younger brother, Henry (Riley Thomas Stewart), have more or less accepted the new member of the family.

In her third outing as director, and her first in 16 years, Foster doesn't always successfully navigate the emotional and satirical elements of the film but then, they may be just as much a result of the structural flaws in Killen's screenplay.

You may choose not to see The Beaver due to your opinion of its leading man Mel Gibson, and that's completely understandable. But for those who divorce art from its creators and accept it on its own terms, you may just be surprised.

The Beaver opens in Australian cinemas August 4. A full review will be posted on The LennoX Files closer to its release.

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