High body count lowers potential of Edge of Darkness
by Tessa Lynn
Directed by Martin Campbell, starring Mel Gibson
When the daughter of a Boston homicide detective is murdered, the police assume her father was the intended target. Her father goes on the trail of the killer, gradually uncovering his daughter’s secret life along with an intricate web of government and corporate corruption.
Mel Gibson makes his screen lead comeback as detective Thomas Craven, a single father grief-stricken over his daughter’s death and hell-bent on discovering the killer or killers—he’s “a guy with nothing to lose.” The opening shot features several bodies surfacing in a lake on the edge of the evening—a foreshadowing of what is to come. Many bodies will fall, slump, or be pounded.
Ray Winstone plays Darius Jedburgh, a government agent who may or may not be inclined to help Craven in his search for the truth. Jedburgh proves to be one of the most interesting and philosophically minded characters in the film, observing at one point that, “Everyone’s terminal.”
There are some humorous parts, as in the repeated line, “Everything’s illegal in Massachusetts.” The film also tries to have some heart, as in Craven’s flashbacks of his daughter and imaginings that she is still with him.
Intrigue builds as Craven’s investigation cuts deeper into a puzzle bigger than he had ever imagined. As the conspiracy is uncovered, it becomes more confusingly convoluted, and there are a couple loose ends and incongruities (if Craven is under police protection at his house, why is he allowed to leave without a bodyguard?).
Mel Gibson’s performance is nothing to be sneezed at, and the actress who plays the young Emma Craven is a delight to watch.
Based on an eighties TV series of the same name and directed by Martin Campbell of Casino Royale and The Mask of Zorro renown, Edge of Darkness strives towards some sort of depth, but most of the potential is lost in the gradual pileup of bodies, and it becomes at the last little more than a revenge flick.
“Deep down, you know you deserve this,” Craven tells an unarmed bad guy before gunning him down. The camera lingers over the bloodied, dying man as an audience member laughs.
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