The Beaver

Year: 2011
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Director: Jodie Foster
Writer: Kyle Killen
Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence

Never mind your Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - for a real test of your suspicion of disbelief look no further than Mad Mel's big comeback. If you can forget his phone message to an ex girlfriend about how she's asking to get raped by a pack of niggers because of the way she dresses, it's a truly immersive experience.

By accident or design, the movie deflects such lurid fascination by concentrating just as much on the family members around toy company CEO Walter (Gibson). After languishing in depression and on the verge of losing everything he has, he comes across a soiled beaver puppet in a miniskip and starts using the puppet and a cockney accent to communicate with his family, employees and the world.

Those around him try to be patient and it's easier for some than others as he reconnects with his young son, turns his company around and rekindles his relationship with his wife (Foster). It's his teenaged son (Yelchin) – embarking on a relationship with a troubled girl at school (Lawrence) – that has a hard time dealing with his father's 'treatment'.

But it turns dark in a single sequence that's as funny as it is scary as Walter realises the doll is doing more than letting him re-engage with the world – it's controlling him.

None of it would work if Foster (as director) and Gibson didn't believe in it completely, and (somewhat amazingly) you will too. From the trailer and knowing a bit about the plot you'll think it's an outright comedy, but it's actually a black comedy and a fairly sensitive look at mental illness with plenty to take away.

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