January 29, 2010
Review - " Edge of Darkness " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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wife, evidently long gone from the scene? Why doesn't he have any friends? What kind of police detective is he?
From the evidence presented, Craven is a haunted loner with deep reserves of seething anger and brutal competence. The
death of his daughter destroys him, as though he himself had absorbed the shotgun blast to the gut, but there's never any
question that his own brand of justice will be served. First, though, he has to figure out who was trying to kill him.
The mistaken assumption serves as a starting point for solving the mystery. On the surface, seasoned Detective Craven is a
natural target for a violent assault. His daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic), a recent graduate of M.I.T., is, in her own words,
simply a "glorified intern" at a large scientific research center in Massachusetts. Why would anyone want to kill such a
charming young woman?
A generous supply of clues are swiftly dealt out. Emma coughed up blood before she and her father could even sit down to
dinner. She says she has 'something to tell him' moments before she is murdered. Fellow police veteran Whitehouse (Jay O.
Sanders) shows up afterwards, looking around suspiciously before entering the Craven home to comfort his old friend.
Craven quickly convinces his superiors that, as the apparent target, it is only logical that he remain on duty and investigate
the case rather than taking the standard leave of absence after the murder of a close family member. Craven has no intention
of sharing his findings, of course. He makes the rounds of Emma's friends, as discovered through her cell phone, beginning
by breaking into the apartment of her boyfriend (Shawn Roberts). Each armed with a weapon, the "meet cute" ends in a draw,
establishing a pattern for Craven's investigation: every step he takes toward solving the case will be painful for someone.
The investigation leads Craven to Jack Bennett (Danny Huston), the head of the research institute where Emma worked.
Bennett is soft-spoken and slick, calmly explaining that yes, the facility deals with raw nuclear materials, but no, those
materials are not used in making any type of weapon. We know at once that he's lying. Exuding quiet, oily menace, Huston
imbues Bennett with the characteristics of a snake. He practically hisses when he asks Craven what it's 'really like' to feel
responsible for the death of his daughter.
Especially effective are scenes between Gibson and the stalwart character actor Ray Winstone, who plays a shadowy
government fixer named Jedburgh. His shifting agenda of threatening integrity is largely unexplained until a startling moment
of truth that brings his previously ambiguous disposition into sharp relief. With a delicate balance of thuggish menace and
cultured intellect, Winstone oozes restrained thunder as he purrs out in deadpan, "I've been making things unintelligible for 30
Eventually the investigation leads Craven into political intrigue on a wide scale, which interests him not at all. He is
single-minded in his desire to punish those responsible for Emma's murder. That's it; he has no other motive.
As he drives the narrative forward, director Martin Campbell is not averse to sudden bursts of speed. But, really, the film plays
more like a dramatic mystery than a traditional runaway thriller, unfolding its secrets in deliberate, unhurried fashion. When
shocking moments arrive, they are writ large; when small moments play out, they are finely tuned.
Edge of Darkness marks the return of Mel Gibson to the big screen after a prolonged absence. It's a star vehicle that makes
clear he's still a commanding presence, able to summon up frightening emotions from the depth of his soul. And it's the first
film in which it's readily apparent that he's a man of only average height. Craven isn't like similarly greying heroes, such as
Indiana Jones or John McClane. He may pack a punch, but his joints and mental state sigh under the pressure, reflected in
hallucinations - his daughters voice, or a superimposed memory of years previous - throughout. Narrative-wise this merely
translates into a little psychological underpinning to his grim determination. With the lines in his face Gibson brings his
more-convincing-than-ever loose cannon persona to the role of Boston detective Craven.
As the unctuous corporate villain, Danny Huston
plays up his familiar oily smarm to embody the
conspiracy of evil behind intricate schemes that
often interplay on opposing levels. In between is a
varied ensemble of solid supporting players who
all participate in making the storytelling realistic
"Edge of Darkness" goes way beyond the confines
of a police procedural or father's search for
revenge. There's raw energy and eloquence in
scenes that are alternately clever, chilling, witty,
horrifying and touching, right up to a final moment
of unexpected eloquence and grace.
It was great seeing so many recognisable Boston
scenes. However, to someone from Boston, it is
excruciating to listen to these actors put on what is
so obviously a fake Boston accent
Edge of Darkness
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Mell Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic,
Shawn Roberts, Jay O Sanders
In this climate of reboots and remakes of still-warm film franchises, it's
interesting to behold "Edge Of Darkness", a television-to-screen
adaptation of a BBC TV series. As a project, it's certainly intriguing -
the first starring vehicle for Mel Gibson since 2002 that happens to be
a gut-punch thriller from Martin Campbell, the solid director who
brought us one of the best post-Connery James Bond films
(Goldeneye, of course). Mel gibson’s return to acting (it’s been eight
years since Signs) is a welcome sight. His performance as Tom Craven,
a Boston homicide detective whose 24-year-old daughter (Bojana
Novakovic) is shotgun-executed before his eyes, shows his movie-star
shine hasn’t dimmed.
Bodies bob to the surface of a deserted river. A playful little girl is
captured on home video. A troubled man waits for his daughter. "Edge
of Darkness", a powerhouse dramatic thriller tends a bed of smoldering
embers that occasionally, unexpectedly, explodes into a raging fire.
The largest ember is Craven, a Boston police detective. As played by
Mel Gibson, Craven becomes a man on a mission only after his
daughter is shot dead in front of his eyes. Before that, his life is a blank
slate, more notable for the things that are missing rather than any
sense of purpose. Unresolved questions follow him around like a lost
puppy: why didn't he visit his only daughter? Why did he demonstrate
so little interest in her career or her friends? What happened to his