For those of you who, with bated breath, have been waiting years for Mel Gibson’s triumphant return to the movies, your wait has come to an end. He’s back, post 2006’s drunken anti-semantic rants, in the new crime thriller Edge of Darkness. For those of you who wished he would have just stayed in his basement spray painting swastikas on the wall, take solace in the fact that this movie isn’t exactly a top notch film and it doesn’t comfortably seat Gibson back at the A-list’s table.
Adapted to film by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell from the six episode BBC mini-series of the same name, Edge of Darkness delves into the slimy world of corporate greed, cover-ups and dirty politics. Finding himself mired in the thick of it all is Boston detective Thomas Craven (Gibson) in thanks to the murder of his daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) via a contract hit which occurs on his front porch. With less difficulty than tearing through a wet paper bag and a less than spectacular Boston accent, Craven begins to unravel her killing. His investigation takes him to the steps of Northmoor, a Defense Department contractor, for whom his daughter worked. Yes, I know, it is a stretch of the imagination to think that a corporation with military ties can be involved with unscrupulous activities.
Actually, there are stretches everywhere.
The caricature put forth by Danny Huston as a man without a social or moral conscience is an unwelcome strain on realism. To say he plays the part of Northmoor’s CEO over-the-top would be like saying Kirstie Alley is only mildly overweight — it is that much of an understatement. I’m a bit perplexed as to why director Martin Campbell didn’t rein him in, as Huston can’t even remotely be taken seriously (this is, after all, supposed to be a serious movie, right?).
I’d also raise the red flag to point out the pieces of the puzzle fall into place a bit too conveniently as well. Even with the unexplained help from Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), a man who “solves” problems for bad people, a complex maze of cover-ups and purposeful misdirections should not be so easily solved as a paint by numbers picture. Some will argue that it all has to come together by the end of the movie, which in this case is 117 minutes long, to which I’d say they’re right, but the plot shouldn’t have been made to look so intricate that it seems silly that it can be solved in three simple steps.
At least, however, Gibson tries to keep Edge of Darkness grounded and realistic. His accent, at times is way off, but he pounds the street with purpose and he speaks his lines with conviction. Considering the effort put forth by everyone else, it almost seems as if he’s acting in an entirely different movie!
A movie, that I’m sure after seeing the final product, he wished he was actually starring in. I kinda wished it too. But I suppose it’s just good to get the feet wet again since a beggar can’t be a chooser. Right Mel?