Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The artist vs. his art

As no less an expert on these things than Bruce Springsteen once told me, "You should pay attention to the art, not the artist." I know that the two are indeed separate. And yet, I'm always surprised when I respond to one of Mel Gibson's performances.

Ransom is on as I write this. It's a well-crafted piece of entertainment with two very good performances at its core: one by Gary Sinise as the kidnapper and the other from frantic father Mel Gibson. Mel is by turns vulnerable, angry, frightened, remorseful, proud, defiant, desperate ... Gibson has the showier part but he is still authentic.

If I was dropped onto Earth from another planet, I'd even find him attractive.

But then there's "I'm glad John Lennon is dead," and "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and "sugar tits" and threatening to kill the mother of his youngest child and homophobia. The rage inside this man is mighty and toxic.

Mel Gibson is an actor and a talented one. He has a compelling screen presence. His appalling personal life doesn't diminish the quality of his work, just my enjoyment of it. Every time I see him, the "fourth wall" crumbles and I'm reminded of the George Burns quote, "The secret of acting is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made."


  1. I'm with you. I have the same problem with Bing Crosby.

  2. I feel the same way. I just can't articulate it as well as you did!