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The Man Without a Face

The Man Without a Face (1993)

August. 25,1993
| Drama

Justin McLeod is a former teacher who lives as a recluse on the edge of town after his face is disfigured from an automobile accident ten years earlier, in which a boy was incinerated--and for which he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Also suspected of being a paedophile, he is befriended by Chuck, causing the town's suspicions and hostility to be ignited.


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Mel Gibson directs and stars in this 1993 drama based on the novel which co-stars Nick Stahl, Margaret Whitton and Geoffrey Lewis. This takes place in the late 1960's where we meet Charles Norstadt (Stahl), a troubled boy who wants to leave home and attend military school. Soon, he meets Justin Mcleod (Gibson), a former teacher with a scarred face who takes him under his wing, tutoring him and they become friends. The late, Whitton (Major League) plays Charles' mother, Catherine and Lewis (Tango & Cash) plays Police Chief, Stark. I've always liked this film and Gibson and Stahl are great together. I recommend this.


Justin McLeod has been living the life of a recluse for seven years, ever since he was horribly disfigured in an unfortunate event. Known by the locals as "Hamburger Head", he's the subject of many rumors and wild stories. Chuck is a young boy determined to get into the same military school as his father, despite his mother's protests and his half-sisters' mocking, even if it means studying all through the summer. Desperate for a tutor, Chuck encounters the reclusive McLeod, and together they begin to help each other deal with a world that has shunned them both.......Despite what you think about Gibson the man, you cannot deny the mans body of work as a director, and his debut, in my opinion is his greatest ever achievement. Here Gibson literally changes his while screen persona, and this is probably why it under performed at the box office, people were not ready for a serious Mel, let alone disfigured.But despite McLeod being the source of many a scary story, he is the most humanistic, the most holistic character in the whole movie, and although for most of the first act he is the boogeyman, thanks to camera angles and long shots, the second and third act portray him superbly.What scares the townsfolk the most about McLeod isn't the stories about him, it's the normality about him when he encounters folk, the lengths he goes to to stay away from folk, so I feel it comes as a pseudo relief to many when the Sheriff takes Chuck home from his house, their false fears have falsely been confirmed.The performances are tremendous, and the final scene is tear-jerking. It's a wonderful movie.


I've not seen more than a handful of Mel's movies. Certainly all the violent money makers, but last night, I watched "TMWaF". I am not a movie critic and don't know how to critique movies, but this movie, I loved from beginning to end. Every actor played their role (large or small) so well it was like I lived in the town and was watching everyday life. I won't go on and on. I recommend the movie to all, even those hooked on the latest zombie movies or those youngsters who crave violent action flicks. Take some time out, watch this one and prepare to see a movie that will keep you thinking. A movie that shows what MOVIES can be. BTW I was left with a question: did all the town shun and despise Justin McLeod? I would have thought at least some of the women would have felt sorry for him seeing the undamaged half of his face and seeing how he would have been the handsomest man any of them could have known and just wondering "ah, what could have been".


I had never heard of this movie or the book it was taken from...but I watched it because of Mel Gibson, even though I am not a big fan of his, his movies are usually at least worth a look/see.I was pleasantly surprised at how well done this movie was and the lasting impression it has had on me. Many movies are so forgettable that after watching them they are soon forgotten.I marveled at how well the entire movie was directed and the sets, acting, screenplay were magnificent.The movie is about a young boy who feels different than others in his family and circle of friends. He meets and a strong friendship between the boy and Mel Gibsons character are forged.The movie is about being different and still normal, still with feelings, still with intelligence, still with passion.The only thing in the movie I might change would be the title, it just is not what I would consider a good name....A better choice might be "A Man and a Boy"... or something similar.