Blood Father is the best I’ve seen from Mel Gibson in years. Between extended cameos in the Machete and Expendables franchises and the underwhelming Get The Gringo, there just hasn’t been a film in a while that I thoroughly enjoyed and felt that cinematic rush I used to feel when watching his older, classic stuff. This has it all: a rough, rugged story line, an older, grizzled and disarmingly jacked up Mel, and a surprising rose of an emotional core that’s embedded in a violent bed of thorns which serves as our narrative. Later in his career Mel has been playing older, meaner versions of antiheros from his past, and one gets the comforting feeling that any of these jaded brutes could be the unofficial versions of those very same characters. Desert dwelling excon tattoo artist John Link could easily be an older Porter, the protagonist from my favourite Gibson film, Payback. I’d like to think that such parallels are deliberate on the filmmaker’s part. Whoever he is, Link has a long and checkered past of broken bridges and incarceration, etched like a road map onto his shaggy visage. When his troubled teenage daughter (Erin Moriarty, terrific here as well as this year’s Captain Fantastic) re-enters his life on the run from her psycho cartel brat of a boyfriend (Diego Luna), the fire in Link is kindled. Taking her on the run, he goes into ultimate protective dad mode and let’s the old forges of violence burn bright once again, in hopes of finding some kind of redemption. William H. Macy hangs around as Link’s AA sponsor, but the real supporting gem comes from legendary Michael Parks as Preacher, a vile neo nazi scumbag and former associate of Gibson’s. He’s icky and repellant, but coos with Park’s patented purr and steals his sequence of the film menacingly. The action is down and dirty, reigned in by an obvious small budget, but that comes as a welcome gift in a genre hampered by big style fireworks that smother story. Not here. The crucial part of it is Link and his daughter, and their glib back and forth that just hides the pathos we get to see in full bloom near the end. We wouldn’t give a damn about the whole deal if their relationship, and the actor’s chemistry, didn’t work. Gibson and Moriarty knock it out of the trailer park. I couldn’t give a laminated shit about whatever Gibson did or said to piss so many people off. That’s seperate from the work he does and should be treated as such. Everyone who stifled and shunned him professionallly for something which occurred in his personal life should be flogged. Nevertheless, I hope we get to see more stuff like this from him moving forward. He’s a bit older, a bit more rough around the edges, but goddammit he’s still our Mel.
Podcasting Them Softly is thrilled to present an exciting chat with the extremely talented author and screenwriter Peter Craig. Peter collaborated with Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard on the screenplay for the blockbuster crime movie THE TOWN, and hitting screens this weekend is his latest project, the Mel Gibson action thriller BLOOD FATHER, which finds Gibbo back in total ass-kicking mode, with the film serving as an adaptation of Craig‘s original novel. Other co-screenwriting credits include THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 and 2 for director Francis Lawrence, which he tackled with writer Danny Strong, as well as drafts for the hotly anticipated sequels to both TOP GUN and BAD BOYS for super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. He’s an accomplished novelist, with titles that include THE MARTINI SHOT and HOT PLASTIC, while the future holds some interesting big screen work, with an adaptation of Homer’s ODYSSEY, an adaptation of Lynsey Addario’s memoir IT’S WHAT I DO for producer Steven Spielberg, and a really cool sounding submarine action film called HUNTER KILLER with Gary Oldman and Gerard Butler. This was a serious treat and total honor to be joined by Peter for a discussion on his work – we hope you enjoy!