Tuesday, 14 May 2013

FILMS

I have got into the habit of reviewing films in pairs (see list at bottom) and keeping the custom alive this week are two of Mel Gibson’s earliest films, and my entries for Overlooked Films, Audio and Video at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom.

Mad Max and Tim (1979)

No two Mel Gibson films are more unrelated than the low-budget Mad Max and Tim save for the fact that they were released in 1979, just three months apart, and that they were named after his characters, Max Rockatansky and Tim Melville, or vice versa.

I have a vague recollection of both the movies, having seen them more than two decades ago, Mad Max in the cinema hall and Tim in the living room. So this is for the record.

The characters Gibson plays in the two films are diametrically opposite: in Mad Max, he is a mad-as-hell, revenge-seeking, blood-thirsting cop out to nail the ugly biker gang that murdered his friend, his wife, and his kid; and, in Tim, he is a shy and reticent young man, a slow learner who finds comfort and understanding in the presence of a woman, Mary (Piper Laurie), twice his age.

In many ways, Mad Max and Tim are about the changing social mores of the time, as evident in Max’s insensate and remorseless destruction of the enemy and Tim’s growing friendship with Mary that pits him against hypocrisy and suspicion in society.

The one thing common in both the films, as it is in many of his films, is the passion Gibson brings to his role and it hasn't waned a bit over the past three decades, either as an actor or a director. He is one of the most intense actors of our times.

I don’t remember if Tim played in Indian theatres. Mad Max did and it was a big hit and it made Gibson a household name in this country. Suddenly, everyone wanted to be like Max, with his boyish good looks, leather attire, mean gun, monster wheels, cold-blooded intent, and a hostile land between him and his unsuspecting target.
 

Mad Max was a trailblazer. It was directed by George Miller whose sequel, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), didn't hold as well. In 1985, he directed Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome which I haven’t seen. Now Miller is due to release Mad Max: Fury Road in 2014 with Tom Hardy in Mel Gibson’s boots. I doubt they’ll fit.

Tim, directed by Michael Pate, is a very sensitive film. It is based on a novel by Colleen McCullough, the author of the much-acclaimed The Thornbirds.



14 comments:

  1. I never saw Tim. Did enjoy both Mad Max and The Road Warrior very much.

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    1. Charles, TIM is the kind of film that comes and goes and you'd never notice it. On the other hand, MAD MAX deserves its cult status. I'm waiting to see Tom Hardy essay the role of Mel Gibson. Comparisons will be inevitable.

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  2. Good choices Prashant! I remember quite liking TIM at the time but haven;t seen it in ages - same goes for MAD MAX (I've seen the sequel, which i prefer, much more often in fact). It is frustrating that Gibson's successful career as an actor and director has been so derailed by his personal problems, which I must admit I now find it very hard to divorce from his work. Will the dust ever settle? His career as a major star would seem to be well and truly over.

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  3. Thank you, Sergio. I had absolutely no idea Gibson had personal issues that may have affected his career as an actor and director. I rarely read about the personal lives of film people unless they stare at me from a newspaper. What we usually get is cheap gossip that serves no purpose for the reader. I liked him as an actor and have enjoyed the films he has directed, especially THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST which I found hard to digest on account of the torture. I recently watched him in M. Night Shyamalan's SIGNS alongside Joaquin Phoenix. And then, of course, he does fairly decent comedy.

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  4. You are right to ignore the gossip mate - having said that, it does seem to have a great impact on his career to the extent that he is not considered remotely bankable any more. of course he has also got older (or rather, older-looking), which in Hollywood is probably an even greater sin than making anti-semitic remarks.

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    1. Sergio, I noticed, too, that Gibson looks a lot older than many of his contemporaries who are in their 50s. I haven't see any of his recent films given that he has one to his credit each year since 2010. I liked his part in the LETHAL WEAPON series. He paired well with Danny Glover and had a chance to show his funny side as well.

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  5. Prashant, interesting reviews and interesting comments about Mel. I have not seen either of those movies. But I have some favorite Mel Gibson movies. Lethal Weapon... I like all of them, my husband only likes #1. Payback, a remake of Point Blank. I liked Conspiracy Theory, my husband did not. Hamlet.

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    1. Thank you, Tracy. I have enjoyed the LETHAL WEAPON series and thought that the Gibson-Glover police partnership really clicked well. Thanks for mentioning PAYBACK. It's a film I'd like to see again though I didn't know it was a remake of POINT BLACK which, I have just learnt, is based on a book by Donald E. Westlake (writing as Richard Stark). So now I have a film and a book to look forward to.

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  6. Am not a film buff but enjoyed your link to the review in pairs and to see how many of them I've seen. Was quite surprised as to how many.

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    1. Thank you, Mystica. Maybe, I should have mentioned the common denominator in all the paired-up films. Then again, it would be easy to spot, I guess. Reading books scores over watching films any day.

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  7. Hi Prashant, I never saw MAD MAX - SO NOT my kind of movie. But I did see TIM and loved it. (No surprise there, I'm sure.) I always shake my head with dismay to think that that beautiful young man turned into such an unpleasant (and quite ugly) old man.

    I also read the book by Colleen McCullough and recommend it. I've been meaning to do a post on the movie, but you beat me to it.

    Maybe I'll do one anyway, but I'll wait awhile. I was perusing through Piper Laurie's biography recently and she has some very interesting things to say about young Mel Gibson and the experience of filming with him.

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    1. Yvette, a lot of people wouldn't like MAD MAX. It is a violent film. I saw it in my teens and I doubt I'd go to the theatres to see a film like that now. I hope to see TIM again as I don't remember the film much, save for Gibson's character, and I'll also check out Piper Laurie's comments about him.

      I have hardly written a post about GONE WITH THE WIND — Celebrity Stamps being more trivia than anything. So, Yvette, I llok forward to reading your detailing review of McCullough's singular work.

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  8. Now you've got me interested. Tell me what is the common link?

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    1. Mytica, the common link in the order of films is: 1. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan 2. George Clooney 3. Pearl Harbour 4. Boy meets girl in public 5. Robin Williams 6. Author Peter Benchley 7. Manmade catastrophes 8. Women in love.

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