97. Mel Gibson
BRAVEHEART, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, APOCALYPTO, MAN WITHOUT A FACE
Often, when someone is trying to describe auteur theory, he or she will say that an auteur is someone whose movies you can recognize based on thirty seconds of film with the sound off. For the most part, this is a helpful boiling down of the idea. However, it leaves out one of the most important aspects of an auteur, theme. Mel Gibson’s very Catholic take on the hero’s journey is evident in his repeated explorations of martyrdom or, in the case of Apocalypto, extreme suffering for what is right. His detractors have rightly pointed out his anti-Semitism (which cannot be ignored) but have wrongly accused him of being nearly pornographic in his use of gore. The violence done to flesh in his films is not gratuitous, though. He’s illustrating his deeply held belief that the human body is merely meat and viscera. It is not the self. To destroy that, you’d have to get to his characters’ souls and those tend to make it through pure and intact, despite the fact that their vessels have been rent and flayed.
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