Edge of Darkness

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Courtesy of Warnerbros

Mel Gibson’s welcome return to acting has manifested in 2010’s Edge of Darkness, a film adaptation of the successful 1985 six part BBC television series of the same name. Both versions have been directed and produced by Martin Campbell & Michael Wearing respectively. Campbell especially has demonstrated a rich history in dramatic action film making with his Bond heritage (Director of GoldenEye & Casino Royale) which he utilizes to his full advantage with this fresh endeavor. The cast is meticulously chosen with Gibson taking the lead role of Thomas Craven, a Boston homicide detective who bears witness to his only daughter s mysterious murder. Our very own Ray Winstone appears as a government operative responsible for cleaning up the mess, and last but not least the principal antagonist comes in the form of X-Men: Wolverine’s Danny Huston as the C.E.O of North Moor, a government defense contract agency which Gibson uncovers bears more than its fair share of responsibility.

The original series had the fortunate pleasure of music being provided by the genius that is Eric Clapton, and in addition played upon and drew from environmentalist James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis which postulates that the Earth is a single oscillating organism. This American studio adaption has left behind such idiosyncrasies in search of political thrills and invokes copious parallels with Kevin MacDonald s State of Play (also adapted from a previous BBC series).   However, this offering does hold water in that Gibson has joined the directorial wilderness for the past eight years, proving like Clint Eastwood to be one of the most vital contemporary directors in Hollywood with the likes of the hugely controversial but integrally inspiring The Passion of the Christ & Apocalypto.  But Gibson s return comes in a tour de force stipulating connotations of his previous performances in Payback and Ransom. He has always been more than solid and innovative lead man in pretty much any film that comes his way, and as a result this story has a heart and if you climb through the layers of American Bullsh** you will find an enjoyable ride worth taking.

Campbell’s direction is sharp and will keep you on the edge of your seat, especially in some scenes where he excavates that perfect equilibrium between a long meditated scene into sudden chaotic madness when you least expect it. The film also attempts to remain realistic with Gibson after having a fist fight with a potential suspect has to take a time out to get his breath back and sweat all over the gaff. The film is littered with moments like this, proving that perhaps Gibson had influence in the creative decisions, as he comes away from this as triumphant and rightly so. There are however, great problems in this fast paced and expensive way of film-making in that it s like an excited American kid trying to tell you everything in a couple seconds without slowing down, too much information is presented to the audience for them to digest and we are then expected to know every angle of what is yet to unfold.

Furthermore, there lies a great twist towards the end, which was a special delight as sometimes you do not come to expect such a luxury in this modern market of Hollywood predictable dominance. Ray Winstone especially delivers a perfect counter balance to Gibson s man on a rampage character, in that their encounters provide some much needed humour into the script. The political ramifications of this film appear to be a contemporary comment on the state of American domestic and international defense relations, and the usual stab at government corruption and scandals. This plays well as it offers an interesting insight into the entanglements of a proposed Big Brother state. However, the main drive of this film is in its tag-line when Gibson s fellow policeman says to him You should keep safe, these men are armed and dangerous in which Gibson replies What do you think I am?

Edge of Darkness will more than infuse those of you out there who were waiting for another all action Gibson revenge romper stomper, but I fear it does not offer the same meditative and metaphysical complexities of its predecessor, however it is a savage political thriller which like Ronseal it does what it says on the tin, thrills are omnipresent from three minutes in as Gibson takes no hostages in his mighty return.

Edge Of Darkness Trailer

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