Edge of Darkness (R16)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/01/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

Fairly solid thriller with a strong performance from Gibson and some nice directorial touches, though die-hard fans of the TV series are advised to steer clear.

What's it all about?
Directed by Martin Campbell and based on the acclaimed 1985 BBC TV series (also directed by Campbell), Edge of Darkness stars Mel Gibson as Boston homicide detective Thomas Craven, whose daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) is brutally gunned down on his doorstep. The police assume that Craven was the intended target but he suspects otherwise and his investigation soon leads him into a cover-up instigated by sinister defence contractor Bennett (Danny Huston).

As Craven digs deeper, he discovers that the conspiracy goes much higher than he thought and that those responsible will stop at nothing to keep it quiet. Meanwhile, shadowy government operative Darius Jedburgh (Ray Winstone) appears to be on Craven's side, but can he be trusted?

The Good
Gibson is well cast as Craven, channelling his grief into a grim-faced determination to get to the bottom of the mystery, even if it costs him his life. Intriguingly, Gibson allows Campbell to film him at his real height, so he's frequently towered over by his co-stars, which is both unusual and unsettling, while enforcing his 'little guy' status.

Similarly, there's an old-fashioned detective thriller vibe to Craven's investigation, complete with some pleasingly hard-boiled dialogue. In addition, Campbell (always a reliable action director) orchestrates some exciting sequences, such as an out-of-nowhere hit-and-run attack and a thrillingly filmed (if reactionary and not-in-the-original) climactic confrontation.

The Bad
As with the recent State of Play, Edge of Darkness is a fairly competent distilling of a six hour drama series into a two hour movie and it's surprisingly faithful to the original for the first hour or so. However, die-hard fans of the TV series should probably steer clear. The reactionary blow-the-bad-guys-away ending is perhaps to be expected but the film also lacks the political relevance of the original and, crucially, has no idea what to do with Ray Winstone's character (memorably played by Joe Don Baker in the series), so his scenes make very little sense.

Worth seeing?
Edge of Darkness is a decently directed, commendably dark thriller with a strong performance from Mel Gibson. Worth seeing, but if you've never seen the original series, you should definitely track that down too.

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Edge of Darkness (R16)
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Content updated: 15/10/2019 03:38

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