Edge of Darkness Reviews
Surely one of the best films of 2010.
When the daughter of veteran Boston detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is killed in front of him, police assume he was the target. But Craven begins to suspect it's to do with the shady businessman Jack Bennett (Danny Huston) she was working for and begins to start digging to uncover the truth.
The poster and advertising campaign for this film is quite misleading. This is no slam-bam actioner like they would have you believe, but if you are familiar with the 1980's BBC television mini-series on which it's based, then you'll have a better idea of what to expect. This is a slow burning conspiracy thriller that's very deliberately paced and certainly in no rush to tell it's story. It's mainly dialogue driven with Mel not giving too much away while teetering on the brink. Then all of a sudden there are graphic bursts of violence and action that have you jumping out of your seat. These moments are highly effective and realistic but unfortunately too few. The performances are good, Gibson can do this stuff in his sleep, the sleazy Danny Huston can do likewise, as can Ray Winstone playing yet another hard man. The problem is, they talk a good game. Sitting around bumping their gums when they should be bumping some heads and leave a few unexplained plot strands along the way.
A decent conspiracy thriller with highly effective and unexpected bursts of action. Unfortunately, the action is just a bit too sporadic for it to completely grip.
As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.
"Edge of Darkness" isn't anything masterful (and not as well-made as "Casino Royale" from director Martin Campbell), but it is a solid genre film -- it's intelligent and takes its time and is essentially "Taken" for adults. Make of that what you will. Prior to the studio attempting to re-edit it and force its advertising as another action-packed revenge thriller, this is essentially a very "talky" remake of the BBC series (which Campbell had some involvement in originally producing). There are punctuations of brutal violence that are rendered more effective because they're spaced out and inconsistent. When Mad Mel finally gets his revenge, there's some weight to it because it's been building up for nearly two hours.
Mel's been gone almost a decade but you wouldn't know it from how adept he is here. His personal issues aside, he's still a likable, charismatic leading actor -- and despite some traces of over-acting (particularly toward the end), and an inconsistent Boston accent, he does well here. The movie isn't perfect and does get a bit long in places, but I enjoyed it. It's not something I'd necessarily go out and see again, but if it showed up on TV I'd probably watch it again.
I found the way in which this story was presented to be original and inventive, with enough whoah! moments to keep the first half of the film going.
The second half is a little too pat, with a bit of momentum wrecking interplay (but no less interesting - getting into a deeper back story of corporate greed supported by our lovely government).
At the core is good old Mel, who is truly more than an action figure. He shows good depth here as a veteran cop who is trying to cope with a sudden loss.
Stirring up the pot further, and adding a certain spookiness to the proceedings is a masterfully nuanced performance by Ray Winstone, playing a brooding fixer/assassin with a strong moral code. He speaks in riddles and is menacing as he deadpans most of his dialog in a voice barely above a whisper. I read that DiNiro was originally slated for the role and I can definatly see that working as well, but am equally happy with what Winstone brought to the table.
I enjoyed the opening shot of a moonlit lake, all very idyylic until bodies start rising to the surface. This was spooky, and set a nice tone for the film, but it wasn't revealed until at least half way through what it meant (in a definite "ah" moment - I was wondering if it was a metaphor or.... but I'm not saying.
Ultimately, this is the kind of story you've seen before - grieving man goes up against the greedy corporate machine/government, but I found this film entertaining, with enough coming at you from off angles to keep me interested. It also runs high on the plausability scale, with motivations properly explained and very little in the way of bs moments (you know, the ones where a charactor has access to things he shouldn't have, or seems to know things he couldn't possibly know - the kind of things that often seem to appear in action/thriller type of films).
I already knew that Monahan was involved with the script, but I had not, I still would have picked up on the several parallels to The Departed. Campbell does adecent job with direction, andI liked how they handled the flashback/hallucination scenes. There were a few bits of sudden unexpected violence that were also much appreciated, as were the unglamorous brutal depictions of violence.
This isn't aperfect movie, but it's done quite well, and is pretty entertaining, so yeah, you should give it a watch.
After eight years of self-imposed, above-the-title retirement, Gibson returns. Craggier, but with the same hair-trigger energy... It's always seemed, on screen and off, like he might just do anything - it's his blessing and his curse. here he's as dangerous and empathetic as ever. It's good to have him back.
The violence is certainly not soft-focused, with the initial murder shocking, even though it's expected. Another road-side set-piece is impactful, if somewhat nonsensical, while the obvious use of stunt doubles mars some scenes.
DIRECTED BY: Martin Campbell
SUMMARY: As a seasoned homicide detective, Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) has seen the bleakest side of humanity. But nothing prepares him for the toughest investigation of his life: the search for his only daughter Emma's (Bojana Novakovic) killer. Now, he is on a personal mission to uncover the disturbing secrets surrounding her murder, including corporate corruption, government collusion and Emma's own mysterious life.
MY THOUGHTS: "I really enjoyed this movie. I thought it was a pretty good mystery thriller. It even had just enough action in it for me. Fit the mold of the movie well. Great performance by Mel. He always gives a good performance though. Liked the story-line, and it kept me guessing right till the end on how things would go. His daughter ended up being a complete mystery to him, and it was nice to go on the "ride" of knowing who his daughter was and what she had come to do that had ended her life in such a gruesome way. Really enjoyed watching Roy Winstone in this film. You never really knew who's side he was on. Liked that. Kept his character interesting. Really enjoyed the pace of the movie too. It wasn't rushed or to slow for me. All in all a good flick."
I think Mel directs much better these days.