Edge Of Darkness


Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

Edge Of Darkness
"This is a talky affair designed to move away from the original BBC six-parter's cold-war paranoia in favour of a Michael Clayton-style corporate cover up."

Having spent the last eight years directing reasonably-acclaimed fare like The Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto (never mind all that DUI controversy), Mel's back, he's bad and he's still mad.

Though delighted by a visit from his estranged daughter (Bojana Novakovic), lonely veteran detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is heartbroken when she is suddenly killed right in from of him. Ignoring the general belief that the killers were after him, Craven investigates the big company she worked for.

Copy picture

As a 'comeback' vehicle, it’s a solid and entertaining effort with perennial Bond-rebooter Martin Campbell (who helmed both GoldenEye and Casino Royale) interestingly adapting the Eighties mini-series he directed into something more action-based.

Still, this doesn't mean it’s a brainless gun-fest, as Campbell's set-pieces are few and far between. They're skillfully directed with plenty of economic bang mind you (both a roadside murder and opening kill are undeniably surprising), but this is a talky affair designed to move away from the original BBC six-parter's cold-war paranoia in favour of a Michael Clayton-style corporate cover up.

Problematically, while there's plenty of exposition, some things are left poorly explained. From start to finish there's never anything massively surprising (the villain of the piece is essentially sign-posted) and it sometimes feels like we've missed a scene which would shed some light on why a character says or does something. As excellent as Ray Winstone is, it's never really clear what team his mercenary Jedburgh is playing for (no, not in that way).

And yet, the picture works because the relationship between Craven and his daughter feels real. Sure, its only given ten-or-so minutes at the start (limiting newcomer Novakovic's time to impress), but Mel sells the fatherly bond and the visions of his daughter as a little girl peppered throughout are both affecting and well-handled.

So what of Gibbo you ask? Well, Craven isn't much of a stretch as its essentially a mix of past roles. The inconsolable cop ala Martin Riggs, the justice-seeking parent as per Ransom, the single-minded avenger from Braveheart – we’ve seen it before, but we're sold anyway. Admittedly, he's inevitably not the car-leaper he once was, but that smile still lights up the screen while Gibson remains unbeatable at playing under-the-surface sorrow and about-to-boil-over anger with his eyes. As for the Boston accent, the Jury's still out.

Not quite what it could have been, but Mel's first lead in eight years is still an enjoyable - if occasionally unclear - thriller. Good, but just on the edge of very good.

Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2010
Share this with others on...
Edge Of Darkness packshot
A former detective uncovers his daughter's secret life and the reasons why people want her dead.
Amazon link

Read more Edge Of Darkness reviews:

Donald Munro ***

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell

Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O. Sanders, Denis O'Hare, Damian Young, Caterina Scorsone, Frank Grillo, Wayne Duvall, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Gabrielle Popa, Paul Sparks

Year: 2010

Runtime: 117 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, US


Search database:

If you like this, try:

Michael Clayton