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Movie Reviews

Edge Of Darkness



Released: 8th January 2010

Director: Martin Campbell

Stars: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston

Certificate: 15

Reviewer: Mitch Hansch

Well, what do you know folks. The first film of 2010 where I’m saying this is one worth watching. Barely worth it, at least if not on DVD.

Mel’s back and this time he’s so edgy, so darknessy, and so angry. O.k. he’s angry in a lot of his movies but he’s good at it and “Edge of Darkness” is no exception.

It’s been 8 years since Mel Gibson has starred in what was his highest grossing film “Signs”. Ah those were good times. Mel hadn’t spouted off ethnic slurs on a drunk tirade, Joaquin Phoenix hadn’t gone crazy trying to be a hip hop artist with a ZZ Top beard, M. Night Shyamalan hadn’t decided to make crappy films, and I hadn’t thought drinking Smirnoff Ices made me look good in front of the ladies.

Mel is Thomas Craven, a Boston cop with a wicked good accent who has just brought his daughter Emma home to visit played by the adorable Bojana Novakovic. Something’s amidst right away as she has a nosebleed and is puking. Just as Emma finally decides to tell her father what she’s gotten herself into, Emma is graphically gunned down. If people would just get out more information before they died then thrillers would be so much easier to figure out but then we’d have an hour movie instead of two.

Gibson’s performance is the films saving grace. The grieving figure out to avenge is his bread and butter (Ransom, Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Mad Max). Mel has an outstanding ability to make you feel his pain and make you take the journey with him. The film does us a solid by keeping with Craven the night of his daughter’s death. There’s so much anger as his fellow cops detail his house as a crime scene and so much heartbreak as he washes her blood off his face. Mel is constantly welling up with tears but never lets them squirt as to keep focus on why and who is responsible for her death.

As Craven goes down the rabbit hole searching for the truth he discovers his daughter was way over her head. Turns out Emma was trying to blow the whistle on her nuclear missile making “highly classified” company. Craven’s connection with his daughter has a deep resonance throughout the picture. He hears her voice and uses it as reason to never lose his motivation.

Director Martin Campbell who saved the Bond franchise with one of the decades best “Casino Royale” also directed “Edge of Darkness” as a miniseries for the BBC in 1985. Peculiar that he’s come back to give it an American revamp, as the pacing is slow and disconnected. There’s the attempt to cram the whole miniseries in 2 hours and that’s where the screenplay from William Monahon (who won best screenplay for “Departed”) and Andrew Bovell gets messy with the plot. They pipe in Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), the sinister-which side is he on-guy who cleans up national security messes, and the guy who doesn’t let guys like Craven connect A to B. Which in turn with his appearing at 15 minute mumbles and grumbles sadly doesn’t let us connect A to B either.

Mel’s still got that ass-kicking prowess. The knife fight with Emma’s boyfriend shows he’s still strong like bull, I just wish there was a bit more of action in the film instead of the over talky dialogue. The film is comparable to last years “Taken” but is going for a more layered onion that doesn’t pay off. It’s only when we get back to the core of Craven avenging his slain that “Edge of Darkness” works.

The “Edge of Darkness” may not show you how the thriller genre is done but Mel Gibson shows you how top-notch acting is done. It’s a nice return to the screen; hopefully we won’t have to wait that long again.

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