Thursday, August 25, 2011

Movie Review - The Beaver

The Beaver is a psychological thriller/horror film directed by Jodie Foster. I don't care if the trailer looks like a quirky drama, this crap is messed up. I don't CARE if Jodie Foster calls it a comedy-drama, this crap is MESSED UP. But is it any good? And just what makes me feel that this film can be seen along the lines of something out of a Stephen King novel?

Let me back up a bit, back to when I was seeing Source Code with a friend. One of the trailers in front of it was for the above film, a I laughed hysterically for all the wrong reasons. I couldn't believe they were seriously making a drama about THAT premise. And the dialogue was so silly! "I'M THE BEAVER AND I'M HERE TO SAVE YOUR LIFE." Really movie? Really? It looked like Oscar Bait, plain and simple, along the lines of such terrible, terrible films as Seven Pounds. Still, I was informed by people who actually knew what they were talking about that the movie was supposed to be quite good according to test audiences, so although I was skeptical, I kept an interest in the film, and kept tabs on it.

After release, the film grossed under a million dollars, produced on a budget of $21 million, and had a very brief run in theaters, although it was critically acclaimed. Even though the film had star power, since it stars Mel Gibson as the main character, Walter Black (we'll get there in a moment) and Jodie Foster as his wife (who also directed the film) not even the star power was enough to draw in an audience. Jodie Foster stated that she thought it was because the film was a "comedy-drama" and that audiences didn't know what to feel. Well let me solve that problem for you: You should feel utter horror.

You see, as I said above, the trailers, and likely the filmmakers, would have you believe that The Beaver is intended to be the story of a depressed man. While that's true, the trailer is misleading, because this film is NOT merely a drama. I'm fairly certain that this film was directed, written, and acted as a dark, disturbing horror film about a man's slow descent into utter madness, and then got a quirky indie/alternative soundtrack and was recut at the last second. It's the only explanation I can manage.

I say that, but even that doesn't sit right. The film doesn't even feel like it's been recut. This film is terrifying! It starts off oddly, as Walter, suffering from chronic depression, begins to use, as I'm sure you know by now, a puppet of a Beaver to cope. At first this is funny, but that fades quickly, and before too long I started worrying that the film would end with Walter wearing a suit of human skin.

You probably think I'm exaggerating, but I swear, this movie is dark. And not only in the way I thought it would be, with Walter struggling with depression, but some of the scenes with the Beaver in it are downright eerie.

But the film isn't all bad. Even the things I've said above aren't "bad" per say, just bizarre. And I actually did like the movie. The acting is good all around, and the dialogue largely feels realistic and sincere.

Actually what were probably my favorite parts of the movie, oddly enough, were the scenes having to do with the sub plot about Walter's son Porter. The sub plot, a romance between Porter and a girl at his school, was pretty typical teenage romantic plot fair, but something about it felt very sincere, and I thought the two characters had good chemistry. It feels so vastly different from the rest of the movie though, it almost seems like two films got squished together.

So should you see this movie? ...Yeah! Go for it! This film is good! It's... Bizarrely dark, more than a little disturbing, and kind of make you confused to watch because you don't know whether to laugh or cry (as I said, I settled in the middle in UTTER HORROR), but it's still a film worth seeing, that I would definitely give a recommendation.

And on that note I'm going to go NEVER SLEEP AGAIN.

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