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Without a Face...not without Heart
on 11 August 2009
Mel Gibson in his directorial debut adapts Isablee Holland's 1972 novel with the major difference of course being that Mel's Justin McLeod is painted far more morally acceptable..for obvious reasons I won't say here.
Nic Stahl makes his debut as Chuck Nordstadt and along the way we're sucked into the world of a young teenager trying to escape the reality of being son to a single mother with two half-sisters.
The acting is first class, first Stahl as the potty-mouthed and later passionate Chuck and then Mel as McLeod who assumes the role as tutor to the boy during one memeroable summer.
Of course there's a catch to the feel good drama, McLeod is a hideous loner who is not accepted by the community around him and it takes the slightly less predjudiced and desperation of Chuck to find out all is not as it seems.
This is one of my favourite movies in my collection, having watched it last night again I can say that is really is one of those rare movies that never loses its appeal or doesn't get worse with age. Chuck is still Chuck, you will root for him and McLeod is still admirable, witty and "more than the role on the stage he was meant to play".
Sentimental, very Stand by Me-ish but having a lot more adult themes aluded to by the review above its a classic for me and great evidence Braveheart, Apocylpto and the Patriot wouldnt of been just big budget humdinger flukes without the great direction of Gibson.
The final shot with McLeod waving back as he walks away still gets me 10/10