Mel Gibson returns, but his past follows him


He hasn’t starred in a film in eight years but you’d never know it. In that span he directed the most controversial highest-grossing film of all time as well as one of the weirdest foreign-language films and in 2006 he got pulled over for a DUI that made him the hideous butt of late night comedy jokes. He is Mel Gibson, and he’s returning to the silver screen tomorrow after nearly a decade in Edge of Darkness.

Does time heal all wounds? It often does, especially if the Hollywood offender in question was caught up in drugs or maybe even something sex-related like Roman Polansky or Rob Lowe. Heck, I didn’t even know Rob Lowe was involved in a sex scandal until the other day. Sure his career was never the same, but he’s still successful. However, when you’re a movie star who becomes infamously Anti-Semitic in a business where Jews represent a greater percentage than they do in general terms, maybe no amount of time is enough.

Being one of those Jewish movie-loving people, I wish I could say Mel is forgiven and should be totally free of all hating when it comes to his current and future projects. Growing up, I liked him as an actor and had I seen him as William Wallace in Braveheart prior to 2006 I might’ve liked him even more, but the truth is I feel guilty about associating him with anything positive.

I don’t want to be like my grandparents who are appalled he’s still working and want to make sure no one they know goes to see Edge of Darkness. I mean, he’s just the star. This is not his brainchild and he’s not a producer so he’s probably made all the money he’s going to for this film. I don’t feel I need to boycott this film to send a message that he shouldn’t be cast in anything and that his career should be destroyed.

At the same time, I’m not compelled to go spend money on this film. Part of it’s Jewish guilt, in fact a lot of it is, but the reality is he leaves me with an unsettled feeling and he’s made no effort to distance himself from his father’s Holocaust denial or apologize truthfully for all that has happened.

Sadly, if anyone else were in Edge of Darkness, I’d likely be excited about it. The Departed producers put it together with Oscar-winning writer William Monahan and the director is Casino Royale’s Martin Campbell. It’s a classic vengeful father thriller and it’s got a great supporting cast. But it’s got Mel Gibson.


If you don’t wear these same shoes as me, try them on for a minute. See why this isn’t as ridiculous as it seems? I’m completely educated about Hollywood, I know that $10 to see Edge of Darkness is not a ten-dollar vote of confidence in Mel Gibson, yet I’d feel better about not paying to see his movie. Even if the reviews end up great, I’d have to get roped into going in order to be okay with it. I could not make a point to see it and pay for it out of my own pocket and not feel wrong.

Maybe that’s too much hate or close-mindedness and I can’t disagree with anyone who’d like to make that argument, but understand where I’m coming from as a Jew. We don’t let hate roll off our backs easily, we’ve done that historically for centuries – we’re protective of our heritage and we enjoy defending it and speaking out against those who attack it.

To bring the secular lens back into this conversation, this is still a comeback for a much-maligned public figure. Those with nothing against Gibson have to take note that he’s been pretty absent from the screen in the last ten years. Does he have his previous ability to turn a film with a lot of good pieces in place into a moneymaker? I think the January release already says a lot about what Warner Bros. thinks the answer to that question is or at least their confidence in it being “yes.”

So, I turn to you, my proud few handfuls of readers and ask if you’re planning on seeing Edge of Darkness or what your thoughts on it or Gibson at all are. Would you be able to attend a film where the star had offended you or your beliefs in any way?


  1. Michael Moramarco says:

    No, I completely agree. Being a pretty big women’s rights activist, when actors are caught beating their wife, or children, or really mistreating them in any way, I get appalled. I had a really hard time with Bill Murray. I loved that guy. He was a great actor, but I can simply have no respect for someone who would beat their wife. Same thing with Charlie Sheen now. I never really liked him in the first place, but now he just sickens me. Christmas day? Really? What a *expletive deleted*. So, when an actor, or even actress–women can be jerks too–does something which truly offends you, I think it’s our duty to boycott them in some way. It’s our message that we think what they did was dead wrong. Yeah, like the Muse said, they’ll keep making films, and probably continue doing terrible things, but I know that I made a little stand for the right cause. Just my two cents. Cheers. And… don’t watch Two and a Half Men.

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