Theatrical Review: Edge of Darkness

Tom Craven is a Boston police detective. His daughter, Emma, has returned home to take a little break from her job, seemingly. As Tom and Emma start to reconnect at their home, Emma begins to cough up blood. Tom is ready to rush her to the hospital and as they walk out the front door, a mysterious gunman yells the name “Craven!” and fires at them, killing Emma almost immediately. Boston PD is right on this and they believe it to be someone who has a grudge against Tom Craven, but Tom has his own thoughts on the matter and starts his own investigation leading to a secret life he didn’t know his daughter had and her job, with it’s own equally huge ramifications.

Edge of Darkness is the newest film from veteran director Martin Campbell and star Mel Gibson and it’s of special note for Gibson because it’s his first lead-starring role in eight years. It’s also a pretty darn good little movie.

Previously, Edge of Darkness was a television mini-series (that Campbell also directed), which unfortunately, I haven’t seen so I can’t compare it to that. What’s here though is pretty tight, though Campbell is willing to relax his pace and let it unfold fairly naturally. It’s a pretty dialogue heavy piece, but it also features it’s fair share of action and when that action is used, it’s pretty effective, in particular with a scene where Craven meets with a friend of his daughter’s out on a country road.

It’s a pretty familiar idea for a movie, there’s really nothing here that you haven’t seen before, but that can be said for the vast majority of movies that come out now. That’s fine, I know that it’s a rare thing to find something that’s totally original out there, and it really doesn’t matter to me as well as the parts are all put together in an interesting and compelling way, and I think Edge of Darkness does that.

I’ve been a big fan of Gibson’s ever since The Road Warrior (I didn’t see Mad Max until later), and for me, he doesn’t disappoint. He manages to play a man with nothing to lose quite well, but all along there’s still a mind at work in the part. I hope its not another eight years before we see him again on screen. He’s got some impressive support here, with Ray Winstone playing a government “fixer” named Jedburgh, who even though finds himself at some odds with Craven, also has empathy for what he’s doing. Danny Huston is one of the better actors who excels at playing villains these days and he does just as well as the head of Northmoor, the company for which Emma Craven works for. Bojana Novakovic plays Emma Craven and though she’s here real briefly, she and Gibson do a solid job in establishing a father-daughter relationship.

Edge of Darkness doesn’t really do anything new, but it doesn’t do anything wrong either and presents a relaxed paced thriller and a welcome return to the big-screen for lead actor Mel Gibson, who shows that he’s still as engaging a leading man as he’s ever been, though a few years older. It’s certainly worth seeing, if not in a theatre then at least eventually in it’s home video release.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

31. January 2010 by Darren Goodhart
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