Monday, February 01, 2010
Darkmatters Review: Edge of Darkness
Dir. Martin Campbell
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
‘He’s a cop, they killed his daughter… now he’s out for revenge’, yes Mel Gibson is back in Lethal Weapon mode after many years off, but can he still cut it?
Erm, well, here he is back on screen for the first time since 2002's ‘Signs’, Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a man driven to the ‘Edge of Darkness’ when the death of his daughter leads him into a shadowy and dangerous world of corporate corruption and political conspiracy.
Director Martin ‘Casino Royale’ Campbell takes the plot of the powerful 1985 BBC British miniseries which he also directed and transposes the action to the USA. Unfortunately it seems that lots of the tension and compelling edge of the seat action has been lost somewhere over the Atlantic. Perhaps the viewing public has lost the nuclear paranoia that gripped most of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain back in the 1980’s.
Gibson’s not-so-lethal grandad / loner cop isn’t a hero that you can easily root for – he lays on the hangdog grieving and moody countenance like his life depends on it but he doesn’t engage enough when he gets to bring the sporadic payback. The grief element is particularly badly handled – relying on warm fuzzy ghostly visions of Craven’s daughter (Bojana Novakovic) which sit uneasily with the corporate espionage plot.
“Cor blimey governor” Ray Winstone pops up as an unlikely English hitman / fixer whose loyalties are not clear and whose decisions about who to shoot are also fuzzy. At no point did I ever feel moved or thrilled, which can’t be a good thing for a ‘thriller’ – if mild boredom was what they were aiming for however, then Edge of Darkness hits the spot.
It is also hard to fully buy into the main eco-crusading message of the film when the only really exciting action moment is when Mel shoots a baddie in a car speeding towards him, causing it to plunge into (and no doubt pollute) a tranquil lake.
By the end you’ll have seen a nicely directed and competently acted tale, but that doesn’t really matter when you’re delighted to see the end credits so that you can go home. If anything, Edge of Darkness shows that Casino Royale was a rare blimp of greatness on the roadmap for mediocrity that Campbell seems determined to inflict on moviegoers. If you have to see this, it can certainly wait for DVD.
UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:
In a controversial move Craven takes a break from tracking down his daughters killers because he is told by God to warn the world that there might be a Lethal Weapon 5.
Darkmatters rating: ööööö (5 mildly mad maxes of 10)
Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 5 / Style 6 / Babes 6 / Comedy 4 / Horror 4 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4