Movie Review: Edge of Darkness

Oh, my god is Mel Gibson getting old. The man hasn’t aged well. All that stress from his “Anti-Semitic” rant, years of booze abuse and chain-smoking has eaten the former heartthrob to shadow of the man he was in 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4 or 2002’s Signs, his last starring role.

Directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), Edge of Darkness tells the story of Det Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson), a soon to be retired Boston cop who reunites with his daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic).

His daughter is his only light in his life and he really excited when she comes to visit.

Emma is holding many secrets and the night she arrives, Craven’s life is turned upside down.

After dinner, Emma starts convulsing and flailing around.

Craven decides to take her to the hospital except when the front door opens a shotgun goes off hitting Emma square in the chest. She flies back at least four feet as Craven screams. She dies in his arms as he swears he will find the people who killed his baby girl.

The secrets, conspiraces and cover-ups keep pouring in throughout the rest of the film as we are introduced to Emma’s boyfriend (Shawn Roberts), Emma’s boss (Danny Huston), etc, etc. Oh and you can’t forget the creepy “Deep Throat” type guy (Ray Winstone) who happens to smoke giant stogies.

You would think with a capable director like Martin Campbell at the helm, the screenplay adapted by Oscar winner William Monahan (The Departed) and based on a critically acclaimed novel that this film would be quite the movie. Sad to say, it is a snoozefest.

Martin Campbell is a really stable and exciting director. He single-handedly relaunched the Bond franchise twice, brought Zorro back from the dead and is now directing the superhero flick, The Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds. Campbell has stumbled before though anyone remember Vertical Limit with Chris O’Donnell (my review HERE) or the mind-numbing Beyond Borders with Angelina Jolie (my review HERE). Both those flicks stunk. I would have to put Edge of Darkness in Martin Campbell’s disappointment pile.

Mel Gibson’s performance is mainly moping around the whole movie looking like a 140 year old Bassett Hound and very rarely breaks out of that look. When he does however there is a distant glimmer of Gibson’s iconic Martin Riggs character from Lethal Weapon. He is just so boring to watch except for about 5-7 minutes of the movie.

The fault isn’t solely with Gibson or Campbell. The book I imagine is very detailed on what goes on inside Craven’s mind. And it is hard to bring that much heady stuff to a movie. It was successfully accomplished in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River where you have a similar character trying to face the death of his daughter. Except in that movie you have an actor like Sean Penn, here well it’s Mel Gibson. It is like comparing a pineapple to an orange.

Danny Huston and Ray Winstone are so cliched in their performances you half expected them to start reciting Mike Hammer type dialogue. Well that is until Winstone says “I am usually the guy who stops you from connecting A to B.”

There is one question that resonates throughout the flick, “what does it feel like?” For me this film felt contrived, forced and well boring.

2.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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