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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Mel Gibson's most powerful performance
on May 3, 2005
I've loved this film for ages, and although it's not as good as Braveheart, or some other of Mel Gibson's movies (where he's not shown constantly chain smoking), it's still worth having. I have to complain about my shoddy DVD, as I'm sure it's a pan & scan one, as I could move the screen about, and lose/gain some parts of the scene. Either that or I'm just discovering new buttons to press on my DVD remote.
I also love Nick Stahl in this movie, he's not the greatest looking kid to watch (although he's grown up to be quite nice looking), but he draws you into the character, and it's really good to watch.
I've always wanted to read the book, but have never found it here in the UK. It sounds very interesting, as Justin McLeod was homosexual in the book, and there is a much bigger relationship than shown in the film - but obviously Mel Gibson didn't want to include this, maybe fearing it would be too much? There are still some undertones of the Chuck's sexuality in the film, but you have to look hard to see them, and maybe read between the lines a bit.
I love the whole family around Chuck too, his mum (Margaret Whitton), older sister (Fay Masterson), and younger sister. Gaby Hoffman was brilliant as his young bra-burning, feminist sister, whatever happened to her? She's been in Now & Then, Sleepless in Seattle, this, and then she's disappeared off the face of the earth. She's changed a lot however.
There's some shocking scenes in this, including Mel Gibson's topless scene where he shows off his character's burns to their full extent, and the way Justin is treated when the story begins to pick up speed.
I never got the start of the movie, which basically opens into a dream, but connects to the scene at the end of the movie. And it was stupid having a completely different looking actor take over Nick Stahl's part at the end of the movie.
This is a truly heart wrenching movie, an ending which will have you in tears, and will make you want to read the book, if you can get your hands on it. Just don't get the region 2 version, as I reckon that's what's wrong with my DVD.