These days, Mel Gibson has been surrounded by controversy that cause his career and popularity to plummeted into a free fall. There's the DUI anti-semitism remarks and the ex girlfriend's domestic violence-related restraining order to name a few. He had been dropped by his agency and it would appeared that his career might be over.
Then comes Jodie Foster and this movie project about a depressed man who takes on a new persona through a beaver hand puppet. Perhaps its a way of helping her good friend out of a slum but the subject matter in The Beaver seemed like the right fix for Mel Gibson to exorcise his demons.
Putting Mel Gibson's problems aside, let's not forget that both Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster had made good movies as actors and directors before. Personally that an added incentive to see what their second collaboration* could churn out. (* their first being the enjoyable movie adaption of the western TV series, Mavericks)
The Beaver follows the life of depressed toy executive Walter Black (Mel Gibson) who, after being kicked out by his wife, takes on a new persona in which he communicates through a beaver hand puppet. His wife ( Jodie Foster) and son (Anton Yelchin) are skeptical, but try to accept Walter as a favor to their younger son, who loves the beaver.
The Beaver felt like it's holding a mirror to what had transpired in Mel Gibson's downward spiral in recent years. His bout with depression and how he was perceived when he spoke of things without self censorship. At times, it felt like a raw confession done with a comedic touch that seeks the audience's understanding of what Mel Gibson went through.
Performance wise, Mel Gibson is a pretty good puppeteer. The way he switch accent and how he brought the beaver to life was impressive. There are a couple of time that it's hard to focus on both the actor and his puppet when "they" were delivering one heck of a performance.
The Beaver might not be everyone's cup of tea. It's good but it's really a depressing subject. Not exactly a movie that entertain the causal movie goers. It was also a box office flop in the USA and it make one wonder if the general public are still unwilling to forgive Mel Gibson for all the controversy that he had stirred up or they just didn't like the theme of this movie. Personally I suspect that it might be a mixture of both. But if one could look beyond the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson or even use it as a sort of enhancement in viewing The Beaver, it's an entertaining way to approach such a serious condition.