Edge of Darkness

February, 2010, Mystery





It’s never enjoyable to watch a Hollywood star transition from leading man to aging thespian…but that’s what’s noteworthy about this uneven murdery mystery/political thriller - - it indisputably affirms that Mel Gibson’s squarely situated in middle age. Sporting grey hair, a brow with furrows deep enough to plant soybeans in and accompanied by a daughter who has already graduated from M.I.T., Boston-based homicide detective Thomas Craven sees his daughter slaughteredon the front porch of the family home. The wrathful cop then spends the next two hours sparring with friend and foe alike as he uncovers a nuclear weapons conspiracy so convoluted you’re need a weegie board and a course in semiotics to unravel it - - before it unravels before you in the final reel. Mel’s finest this ain’t.


Gibson’s never been a great actor, but nearly always an interesting one to watch; his body is lithe and he knows how to deploy it to great advantage on the big screen. His two recurring roles (in the Road Warrior trilogy and the quartet of Lethal Weapon flicks with Danny Glover) made him an international star and he’s tackled a wide range of roles with mixed to positive results. But he’s spent the past 8 years behind the camera (The Passion of the Christ & Apocalypto) rather than in front of it and the absence shows - - despite a passable Boston Irish accent and the near-obsessive violence he employs in wreaking vengeance, this star no longer possesses that ineffable gravitas that makes audiences pay attention to him no matter what else is going on up there on the screen.


He’s joined here by England’s Ray Winstone, the ubiquitous character actor (who looks and sounds far younger than his co-star despite being his contemporary) and the always oily & villainous Danny Huston; their lines manage to occasionally achieve the snap, crackle and pop of good hard-boiled detective dialogue,  but Edge just doesn’t have any; it lumbers along through its unfathomable storyline and ends, (as all the current members of this genre seem to these days) in the death of nearly everyone to whom the audience has been introduced…


Director Martin Campbell brought James Bond back to life four years ago in Casino Royale, but there’s none of the energy in that movie here - - just a group  of veteran actors doing what they can with a genre film of no particular distinction.


The Verdict? This one will neither bore nor excite you.


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