Film Reviews

EDGE OF DARKNESS

By • Jan 29th, 2010 •

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Gibson expresses a grief that is heartbreaking.

Established movie star actresses are always griping about lack of roles for women over 40. Well, when 40 year old actresses will play their age – that we all know anyhow – without vanity, then there will be roles for them. Madonna, 51, cannot have the movie career she has lusted after because she refuses to play her age. She wants to be the ingénue.

In EDGE OF DARKNESS Mel Gibson allows the camera to dwell on his harshly wrinkled face. He’s playing a realistic character, a homicide detective, who has never even thought of using sun block or a moisturizer.

Can Mel Gibson win over movie audiences playing a grieving father in a taut thriller? Of course! Gibson may be a (reformed) stupid drunk and an adulterer, but if he delivers a terrific movie, that is what we want from him. And with EDGE OF DARKNESS, he doesn’t insult us. Remember, George Clooney is still apologizing to paying customers for BATMAN & ROBIN (1997).

Thomas Craven (Gibson), wearing a slight Boston accent, is a widower who, when his adored daughter is brutally murdered on his doorstep, decides to avenge her death without police interference. As he says, he has nothing to lose. And that is what excites us.

His daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) has been very secretive about her life. Apparently, they have lost touch over the last few years. Craven doesn’t know where she is living, who she is dating, or where she works.

What he does recall in lovely flashbacks is how close he was to Emma when she was a child.

So what happened to their relationship? When and why did they stop talking?

Craven didn’t even know Emma was working in a top-secret, dangerous facility. When Emma finds out what her employer is up to, she does not bother going to her father, but to a quasi-group of whistleblowers. However, Emma’s security clearances and confidentiality contract makes her liable for a long prison term. And then there is the matter of political corruption involving Senator Jim Pine (Damien Young).

Gibson was wise to choose EDGE OF DARKNESS as his entry back into starring in films. And it’s effectively shocking. We enjoy revenge films because it is what we hope we would do if our spouse or child was murdered. EDGE OF DARKNESS, like TAKEN, exploits our primal Reptilian Brain’s desire for ruthless retribution – regardless of the outcome.

Director Martin Campbell directed the best of the James Bond movies, CASINO ROYALE, and here he keeps the camera on Craven’s grieving face. Gibson is ably aided by the terrific Ray Winstone (as Jedburgh), though I missed half of what he said, and Danny Huston (as Jack Bennett), looking like an aristocratic evil power-broker in a girdle.



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