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Mel Gibson: good guy beloved of coworkers...or raging sphincter?

There’s a scene in Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” (1973) in which the Italian American protagonist, Charlie (Harvey Keitel), holds his hand over a candle flame, testing whether he’ll be able to endure the fires of damnation that he is sure await him.

Mel Gibson has been doing the same thing — metaphorically speaking — throughout his career.

The actor is a curious case, a man who for years was widely regarded as a swell fellow, bon vivant, clever cutup and God’s gift to women. And yet there’s a darkness beneath his capering that comes through loud and clear in his movies.

Has any other actor so frequently used his films to probe his terror of  hell, an eternity of both physical and emotional anguish?

(more…)

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