Are you ready for Mel Gibson to come back? No? Me either. But he is. His first film as a director since Apocalypto ten years ago is coming out this fall, with a splashy Venice Film Festival debut and an Oscar-friendly November release date. That means the film, Hacksaw Ridge, is prime Oscar bait, so Gibson is not only getting a comeback, he’s going to be an award season contender.
The first trailer for Hacksaw Ridge came out yesterday and while Mel Gibson certainly knows how to do battle scenes, the movie looks terrible. Andrew Garfield stars as Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector in World War II who won the Medal of Honor after saving dozens of lives at the Battle of Okinawa without ever firing a single shot. That’s a helluva story, but the trailer for the Mel Gibson version of it is unintentionally hilarious. Everyone’s Southern accents are so over the top they sound like they’re starring in an SNL spoof of a Southern Gothic family drama. Garfield’s is so far gone he’s about two steps outside of Simple Jack territory.
And then there’s the violence for which Gibson, as a director, is famous. Mel Gibson loves to make movies about morally pure men who are beaten and flogged for their beliefs, and that is certainly the case here as there are clips of Doss being repeatedly beaten and degraded by his fellow soldiers. I don’t know about you, but I can’t take Gibson seriously after South Park so thoroughly mocked his persecution complex. At this point his MO is so obvious it’s become self-parody. But no matter how ridiculous this movie looks—and it looks VERY ridiculous—it’s getting the Oscar roll-out. Whether we’re ready or not, Mel Gibson is back.