Fellow travellers I am sure that you are as shocked and offended as I am that the appalling Mel Gibson has another movie out at all, let alone so soon. But that's not the most worrying thing about The Beaver. The film's storyline is perhaps even more disturbing than its star.

You see, it focuses on a depressed man who gets his mojo back by putting a beaver puppet on his hand and letting it speak for him. Now, while some people may find this a charming plot device, I am not amused.

I do find it deeply offensive that this threatened species, which occupies an extremely important role in river ecosystems, should be symbolically demeaned in this way. Just as a golliwog doll is deeply racist, a beaver toy is deeply speciesist. And did they ask the beaver community for permission to do this? Of course not. This is an outrageous denial of every animal right known to man.

Then there is the vocal characterization that the appalling Mr Gibson gives the puppet. From the trailer it seems to be a kind of quasi-Cockney villain's voice; the kind you might encounter in a Guy Ritchie film. Surely, if the beaver is to represent a wise spiritual guide, which it clearly is, then a more culturally appropriate characterization is in order. The most obvious choice would be the rich deep accent of a Native American elder. Gibson would have redeemed himself somewhat had he made such an acting choice, since he would have been making a subtle but nonetheless powerful statement about crass American commercialism and the historical displacement of that nation's first peoples. But he wasted that opportunity entirely. Why am I not surprised?

Then there is the sexual symbolism of the rodent. I won't go into details of course, since some of my numerous female readers might be offended. Needless to say, the thought of such a toy being impaled on the hairy arm of a known misogynist (and Christian!) should make every woman feel deeply violated.

Which is why I find Jodie Foster's involvement so perplexing. She is a Hollywood heavyweight with a sterling record on environmental and feminist issues. Yet not only does she co-star in The Beaver; she directs it as well. This clearly gives the impression that she doesn't like beavers at all.

It's really quite depressing, fellow travellers. Quite depressing indeed.