Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1993. Icon Entertainment International, Icon Productions. Screenplay by Malcolm MacRury, based on the novel by Isabelle Holland. Cinematography by Donald McAlpine. Produced by Bruce Davey. Music by James Horner. Production Design by Barbara Dunphy. Costume Design by Shay Cunliffe. Film Editing by Antony Gibbs.
Nick Stahl plays an unhappy, frustrated pre-adolescent who wants to attend military school but doesn’t do well enough in school to merit applying. Gibson, as the titular character, is a man scarred badly by a nasty fire who resides peacefully in a lakeside home and doesn’t have much social contact with the town he lives in. Hearing that this man who is known as the local freak was once a schoolteacher, Stahl boldly introduces himself and asks him to tutor him in his studies. What follows is an enjoyable and absorbing account of their progressing beyond student and teacher and becoming genuine friends. Then Gibson is accused of molestation and the whole film falls into a complete mess, rife with gay paranoia which, from what I have gleaned from other writings, is a complete reversal from the tone of the original novel (though I have to point out that I have not read it).