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Gavin Grades The Movies

Edge of Darkness

Mel Gibson is back and doing exactly what we remembered him doing the last time we saw him on the big screen...kicking copious amounts of ass.  The difference now is that he's older, grayer, and not quite as good as he once was at it.  But you gotta give him a break and let him get his sea legs back.  This is the man who gave us Braveheart, Signs and the Lethal Weapon series.  He also is a masterful, Academy Award-winning director who has given us the amazing The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto during his acting hiatus too.  He truly is an artist, just not sure why he chose Edge of Darkness as his comeback to acting since he could've done much better.  This action flick is the cliche story of a father trying to get revenge or justice or whichever comes first for his daughter, who we see get brutally murdered in the first five minutes of the movie.  You'd think it was a Disney film with how early they kill a loved one.  If you got up to pee or get popcorn before the opening credits start, you may come back and never really know what's going on.  Shortly after the murder he meets a mysterious stranger played by Ray Winstone (Beowulf, The Departed).  If I could select any voice to have in Hollywood for the rest of my life, it just might be Winstone's.  His mumbling, raspy British voice is so unique you can almost smell the whiskey coming off his breath.  I enjoy him in every movie I see  of his and he doesn't disappoint in this either, although he's not on screen as much as he should be.  The film is carried squarely on the shoulders of Mel and tries to center itself on the mystery of who killed his daughter and why.  The problem with the movie is that for the first two-thirds of the movie, you find yourself not carrying more and more.  Here you have a father investigating the murder of his own daughter and he doesn't look like he could care at all.  He seems like he's doing it only because he has too as a detective.  The emotional drive that made the movie Taken with Liam Neison so good was missing from this very similar plot. However, the final act of Edge of Darkness saves it from the downward spiral it was headed in.  That's rare for any movie, especially action films like this.  Usually if a film sucks through most of it, the ending is gonna get even worse.  But the bloody violence and carnage displayed in the final 20 minutes is representative of the kind of film we wanted from the very beginning.  I feel like that was just a miscalculation on the part of the director, Martin Campbell.  He knows how to do action since he made Casino Royale, which was the first James Bond movie I ever gave a crap about and could actually get through.  I guess he just thought that the story and Mel Gibson acting again (even with a pretty horrible Boston accent) would be enough to make this movie as thrilling as it needed to be but instead brought the Edge of Darkness to the edge of entertainment and pretty much stopped there.  But it's still good to see Mel on screen again...even if it had to be this. Edge of Darkness (Rated R) Gavin Grade: C+

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01/28/2010 7:38PM
Edge of Darkness
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02/01/2010 3:40AM
The Edge of Darkness marks Mel Gibson’s return to movies. The last starring role that he had was in 2002. It will be interesting to see if his behavior since then will influence the success of this movie. I will say that we were the youngest people by far in the theater during the showing we attended. Edge of Darkness is a 2010 film adaptation of the 1985 BBC television series. Mel Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a Boston police detective, who is investigating the death of his only daughter. Bojana Novakovic plays Emma Craven, who is murdered right in front of Thomas by a shot gun blast to the chest. Before Emma is murdered we see her vomiting and her nose is bleeding, she starts to freak out telling her father there is something that she should have told him. And then Bam. The police department starts investigating the case under the assumption that Thomas was the intended target and Emma was just caught in the crossfire. As Thomas soon finds out that was not the case. As Thomas starts going through his daughter’s thing he discovered that there was a lot to her life that he didn’t know about. A gun in her nightstand leads him to a boyfriend he didn’t know about. Going through her cell phone leads him to friends he didn’t know. And a visit to her place of employment leads him discover that she worked for a company that has a lot to hide. Mel Gibson gives a solid performance as a grief stricken father out for revenge. I have to admit though that I was struck by how much he seemed to have aged in the last couple years. My favorite performance of the movie was that of Ray Winstone as Darius Jedburgh, an operative brought in by a senator to clean up the mess. He seems to take a liking to Thomas and instead of killing him ends up helping him. Robert De Niro was originally cast in this role but left the film after 2 days on the set because of creative differences. There were some great scenes involving Thomas and his dead daughter, one in particular that brought tears to my eyes. There were also some good action scenes. And there was one scene in particular that really made me jump out of my seat. 6.5 sandwiches out of 10
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