Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Phil Meheux
WRITER: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell
MUSIC: Howard Shore
Director Martin Campbell brings a 2010 adaptation of the BBC mini-series that he directed in 1985. Campbell announced the project way back in 2002 and did not actually get started on the development of the film until 2007. The film also marks a return to the limelight for Mel Gibson.
This is the first main role he has taken since 2002’s “Signs”. Gibson revealed that the reason he took the role was because he is a fan of the original mini-series.
“Edge of Darkness” tells the story of detective Thomas Craven. His daughter, Emma, has just arrived and is seemingly there to spend time with her father. However, later that night, she has a nosebleed and starts to vomit. When they leave the house to go to the hospital, Emma is brutally gunned down before her father’s eyes.
At first, everyone believes that the killing was done by someone coming after Thomas and that he was the intended target. It does not take Thomas long to realize that it was, in fact, his daughter that was the target and he must uncover a massive conspiracy in order to find those responsible for his daughter’s death.
It is good to see that Gibson is back and he makes the smart move of joining a film that he knows how to do: the revenge thriller. Once his daughter is murdered, Thomas takes things slow and acts as if it is not bothering him. It does not take a genius to understand that this is an act.
For those expecting Gibson to return as “Lethal Weapon’s” Martin Riggs with a daughter, they will be rather disappointed. Instead of using guns to solve all of his problems, Thomas uses intimidation. At first, he just uses brute strength. After he begins to put the pieces together, he uses the information to scare those with whom it affects.
While it was good to see Gibson back in a role that he does best, the story really kills the movie. It simply jumps from scene to scene and the flow of the narrative feels off. While it may not be the case, the movie feels rushed and incomplete in places. The action, when it does occur for example, feels like it was forced into the movie in order to give the overall piece a little more energy.
This is a surprise considering that the director of the film is Martin Campbell. Usually, Campbell is very successful when it comes to these types of films. He successfully introduced Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Casino Royale” and has made excellent popcorn entertainment with films like “The Mask of Zorro”.
Beyond Gibson, the rest of the cast does a really good job. Danny Huston plays another shady character in the form of Jack Bennett, the head of Northmoor. This is the company that Emma worked for. Huston is a great bad guy, but he is sorely underused here. Bennett only appears in a handful of scenes and it felt like there should have been more screen time for the character to develop.
One character that is used appropriately is Ray Winstone’s Darius Jedburgh. His character is the man who is sent in to cover things up. Winstone gives a very interesting performance and steals the show when he is on screen. While it was good to see Gibson back in front of the camera again, the film’s poor storytelling makes it one that can be rented or skipped altogether.