Saturday, January 30, 2010

EDGE OF DARKNESS - Curiously flat

EDGE OF DARKNESS is a curiously anemic political thriller starring Mel Gibson as a straightlaced cop whose daughter is assassinated by her employer - a shadowy military defense contractor. While the police are distracted with the idea that the killer was really after the cop, the father begins his own investigation that takes him into the upper reaches of government and business. The marketing campaign for this film led me to believe that the film would be akin to the recent Liam Neeson vehicle TAKEN - in which a vengeful father murdered and tortured his way through Paris. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that EDGE OF DARKNESS is a far quieter, more talkative film. Indeed, barring one or two scenes, it is hardly an action movie at all. Rather, the movie takes the form of a series of conversations. Mel Gibson is actually rather sympathetic and credible as the grieving father and his scenes opposite Ray Winstone, who plays a government fixer, are marvelous to watch. Winstone is more modulated than is typical, and keeps us guessing as to his true motives. But I was rather disappointed to see Danny Huston roll out the same oleaginous sinister performance as the corporate boss. I was also disappointed by the technical quality of the film, despite being shot by the team behind CASINO ROYALE, and by the complete lack of tension. Indeed, the film was so baggy that after an hour I was tempted to leave. The mechanics of the plot - the secret everyone is trying to hide - is very mono-dimensional and obvious. There is no real attempt to work out the ramifications of the secret either politically or in the media. Indeed, despite a rather impressive corporate HQ, the movie has a rather parochial air (all the more because only Gibson attempts a Boston accent.) This extends to one of the most flat and brushed aside endings to a thriller I've seen in a while. So, all in all, despite a rather sympathetic performance from Gibson, this is ultimately a rather frustrating film.

EDGE OF DARKNESS is on release in the UK, the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore, Brazil and Canada. It opens next weekend in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden. It opens later in February in Belgium, Slovenia, France, the Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Romania and South Korea. It opens on March 4th in Argentina and Germany; on March 12th in Taiwan and on April 2nd in Estonia.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, disappointing. :( I'll no doubt go see it anyway! Have you seen the original British miniseries, starring Bob Peck? It is excellent.