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Screening TortureMedia Representations of State Terror and Political Domination$
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Fabiola Fernandez Salek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153591

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153591.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Mel Gibson’s Tortured Heroes

Mel Gibson’s Tortured Heroes

From the Symbolic Function of Blood to Spectacles of Pain

(p.35) 2 Mel Gibson’s Tortured Heroes
Screening Torture

Lee Quinby

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the presence of torture in many of Mel Gibson’s films, including The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart, and Apocalypto. It argues that while Gibson heroes—with the exception of Jesus in The Passion—are ferocious toward their enemies, they do not condone torture per se. Indeed, they are cast as valiant victims of it. In the Gibson schema, revenge is what good guys justifiably inflict on their enemies. Torture is what the bad guys do. The chapter suggests that Gibson’s films actually “condemn the use of torture.” The male characters in these films are victims of torture, a torture that often ends in sacrifice, and the suffering that they endure grants them a purified and patriarchal masculinity that invites honor.

Keywords:   torture, Mel Gibson, film, The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart, Apocalypto, revenge, victims, suffering, masculinity

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