May 14, 2010

Edge of Darkness movie image Mel Gibson slice

Mel Gibson got sloppy drunk in a bar and when he got arrested for a D.U.I. he started making inappropriate comments. That incident was made public and all the bad things suspected about Gibson were confirmed. He had had a crazy man beard, hadn’t acted since 2002, and made anti-Semitic and sexist comments. By that point he was nowhere near The Passion of the Christ or Lethal Weapon. So he did what anyone in Hollywood does when that happens: he disappeared for a while and came back doing a variation on what people loved him for, with a mix of pathos in there for good measure. In Martin Campbell’s Edge of Darkness Gibson plays a cop whose daughter is killed in front of him, and so he goes on the hunt for revenge, and unravels a conspiracy. My review of Edge of Darkness on Blu-ray after the jump.

Unfortunately, though all the pieces are there, this comeback vehicle made little inroads except – perhaps – as an apology tour that few witnessed. Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a homicide detective who suffers the ultimate loss: his daughter is shotgun-blasted in front of him. He then goes to work trying to figure out who did it. His daughter was working for a company called Northmoor, which is run by Jack Bennett (Danny Huston), and his daughter – we discover – was in the middle of a huge corporate cover-up. Craven has to track everything down, with the help of Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), an ambivalent go-to man who finds himself drawn to help Craven and feeds him some breadcrumbs out of possible guilt for his life.


The problem with Edge of Darkness is that it’s the son of two fathers.  The first is the British min-series the film is based. There the political machinations of cover-up and corporate espionage were surely played to the full, and it was more of a procedural-based thriller than this film. The other father is the one that likes seeing people like Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone capping motherfuckers. There is enough of the latter to make it not a complete waste of time, but the film seems divided on being high-minded thriller and low-minded revenge fantasy. Perhaps Taken gummed up the works some. It would be better if it worked on the low-minded level first, so it more was fun to watch. When the film finally does kicks into gear with action set pieces, it is entertaining, but everything else is a muddle, and the film is nearly two hours long. But the high minded corporate cover-up and such feel more like set dressing for the violence than vice-versa. Perhaps because the political machinations never feel like more than just what the audience has to sit through to get to the ass-kickery.

This is a “Mel Gibson with a gun” movie, and had there been a couple more shoot outs, or whatever, the film would have been somewhat better, especially since there’s no feeling of conviction to the conspiracy. Had that been tighter, had they aped D.O.A. more in total (there’s a poisoning giving characters fatal cancers that should act like ticking time-bombs), the film would have had more of a pulse. Alas. But I like Gibson, and whatever animus people felt for his ranting is incidental to the pleasure of seeing him on screen again, and at home – even though it’s a bit of a slog – putting foot to ass.

Warner Brothers presents the film on Blu-ray with a DVD copy and a digital copy of the film. On Blu-ray the film is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 surround and in widescreen. As with most modern film, the picture quality is just about perfect. Extras include nine “Focus Points” (31 min.) on the making of the film and four deleted scenes (5 min.), which go unmissed. The focus points are okay, and shed light on the original, which this makes me curious to see it.

Edge of Darkness Mel Gibson image

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