THE MAN WITH NO FACE
DIRECTOR: MEL GIBSON
USA 1993
CINEMATOGRAPHY: DONALD M ALPINE
MUSIC: JAMES HOMER
CAST: Mel Gibson, Fay Masterson, Gary Hoffman, Nick Stahl
WRITTEN BY: Malcolm McRury
ONE WORD: Nice start for Mel as a director.


Mel Gibson is becoming the type of actor that one likes to see in the film business. When he is young, he is dashing and good. When he gets older, he can take many roles and do a very nice job with it.

THE MAN WITH NO FACE is a modernized version of the previous Hollywood film, and it is very nice, and well thought out in direction when it comes to all the scenes inside the gentleman's house. Here, Mel really studied the dynamics of interplay and mood with a character and made sure that they were presented through the camera. The result is a film that not only has what might appear a shady character, but also shows a shady house (beautiful) in a shady area by the sea.

A young man (Nick Stahl -- very good), who has no father decides his curiosity is as important as his desire to pass a naval academy exam so he can get out of his miserable situation. And he takes on the disliked man with no face (the reason why he is just that way is never clarified, but is assumed it happened because of wrong things) who seems to be a good teacher, a bit similar in style to Mr. Myaggi in the famed kid series. As the film progresses, they get better acquainted with each other, and though the mother is paranoid about the stranger, the kid does happen to pass his exam, thanks to the discipline which he learned from the new teacher, whom he was forbidden to see ever again.

While not a super film, the mother, the policeman, the townspeople, all appear to be second rate characters with little life of their own, and not considered a part of the story (so to speak). They are terribly emotional, and not given the time to clarify their fears. But in the end, this film is about the two leads and they carry it on very well.

But the film is nice, and worth seeing. Looking back at this film, it appears that Mel Gibson learned from it, as in just about all of his other films he has been specially dedicated to the minor and smaller characters in his films and has made them visible and better all around. This film could have used some of that attention, but for a first effort, he really did well and the cinematography helps him tremendously.

3 3/4 GIBLOONS

 

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