Mel Gibson is back people, eight years after his last big movie Signs. During those eight years, he continued to struggle with alcoholism and various other issues. And then there were all those nasty phone calls. However, you already know that I like to separate the art from the artist and I think we should do that here. Edge of Darkness is a mediocre thriller elevated by strong performances and the government conspiracy angle. We will be following a detective who, while trying to find who’s trying to kill his daughter, stumbles upon something much bigger.
What is it with Mel and his daughters? He always seems to be either rescuing or avenging his daughter. I guess he’s still got that big daddy vibe. At this point, I think I should recuse myself a bit from any further commentary as I appear to be far too cynical for this type of story. So, just know that if you’re in the right mood or not too bothered with the thousandth movie with the same plot, this one will feel much better. Moving on, Edge of Darkness is actually based on a British TV series from the eighties.
Martin Campell was the director of both the movie and the series. You might remember him as the guy behind such action hits as GoldenEye, Mask of Zorro, and Casino Royale. This is why the movie looks and feels so good. However, I also think that the $80 million budget had something to do with it. Martin loves lulling the viewer into a false sense of security and then shocking him. So, you can expect several unexpectedly intense and graphic scenes that are going to come out of nowhere. And I freaking loved them.
Meet Thomas Craven, a homicide detective who passionately loves his job. And he’s really good at it. This is perhaps his wife left him and his daughter rarely comes to visit. However, today is a good day as young Emma is finally coming to visit him. The two of them spend some quality time but Emma seems to be feeling ill. Thomas doesn’t know it yet but his life is going to change completely soon. And he’ll need all his detective skills and experience to move forward. Alive.
After the initially quite tiresome premise Edge of Darkness started getting more serious and more sinister than I could have ever expected. The script is intelligent and the characters are fleshed out. We can safely add to the list of good modern Mel Gibson thrillers along with Ransom, Conspiracy Theory, and Payback. Finally, I do want to bring your attention to a movie you probably missed. I know I did. I’m talking about the 1983 thriller Silkwood. It’s based on true events surrounding the murder of a whistleblower Karen Silkwood. Just in case you thought things like this don’t happen in real life.
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell, Troy Kennedy Martin
Cast: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Bojana Novakovic, Danny Huston, Jay O. Sanders
Fun Stuff: The director of the original series Martin Campell started working on this movie back in 2002, some eight years before it was finally released in 2010.