Mel Gibson seemed to have gotten back into the good graces, ten years after he all but destroyed his career with a drunken anti-Semitic rant. His movie, “Hacksaw Ridge,” about the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, has gotten a bit of popular and critical acclaim along with some Oscar buzz. However, Gibson has picked up some more controversy thanks to his next movie, “Dragged Across Concrete,” in which he co-stars with #vince vaughn as a pair of rogue cops who get suspended because a video of their roughing up a suspect surfaces. So the two enter the criminal underworld to get their revenge.
Rogue cops been thrashing suspects on TV and in the movies since the two technologies were invented. Generally the perps are depicted as having it coming and the cops, even if they do get yelled at for violating procedure, win out in the end.
So why the outrage?
First, Gibson and Vaughn are both the rare out and proud Hollywood conservatives. Being right in the entertainment industry in the 21st Century can be as dangerous as being gay or communist in Hollywood during the 1950s. No one will admit to a blacklist against Hollywood righties, but it does exist. Only conservatives with exceptional talent and experience can prosper in the current political climate.
Second, a number of well publicized real life violent encounters between police and criminal suspects, the latter being usually African American, have a lot of people on edge. The Black Lives Matter movement has risen up, behaving borderline as terrorists, some calling for the deaths of police officers.
Of course, no one knows anything about the movie beyond the bare premise. How will the movie deal with the issue of police brutality? One has the sneaking suspicion, reading between the lines, that ‘Dragged Across Concrete” may handle roughing up suspects with a little more nuance than is standard in buddy rogue cop movies. In the current, polarized political climate, that will likely not be enough to fend off protests and outrage. However, controversy can sell tickets, so it may not be entirely a bad thing. #mel gibson