Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Edge Of Darkness (2010)

Living On The Edge

- All eyes seem to be on Mel Gibson in the 2010 thriller Edge Of Darkness since it is his first lead role since the release of Signs in 2002 (and because of his highly-publicized arrest and various unwarranted, anti-Christianity-fueled controversies). However, being a huge Bond fan, I was more interested in what director Martin Campbell (director of the enjoyable GoldenEye (1995) and the excellent Casino Royale (2006)) would do with the film.

The plot appears simple at first (based on the 1985 British miniseries that Campbell directed as well) - aged Boston detective Thomas Craven looks into the mystery surrounding the death of his daughter - but it continues to thicken with each new scene towards thrilling results. One might think - as I initially did - that Edge Of Darkness would end up as just another Mel Gibson fatherly revenge vehicle, sort of Payback (1999) meets Ransom (1996). Well, I was very happy that my expectations turned out to be misguided when Edge Of Darkness proved to be far from a recycled Mel Gibson flick and ended up to be a great thriller with an absorbing story, shocking twists, good acting, and touching themes.

Mel Gibson's starring role comeback was worth the wait. Gilbson is so good as Thomas Craven, pouring a 110% effort into the role with raw emotion and strength - albeit with a less-than-perfect New England accent; it was as if he never left the silver screen. The press and armchair film fans love to hate Mel Gibson but, as far as I am concerned, Gibson is welcome to keep on entertaining us in starring roles if he is going to keep up the level of quality that he showcases in Edge Of Darkness. Supporters Ray Winstone and Danny Huston back Gibson up well - Winstone especially gives a scene-stealing performance and Huston, despite his continued reign as the king of bland screen bad guys, has a strong screen presence that keeps him interesting enough (and employed).

The films that Martin Campbell directed in-between Bond stints (1996 - 2005) range from mediocre to poor. However, 2006's Casino Royale pulled Campbell out of the doldrums of helming substandard action/adventure-movies and 2010's Edge Of Darkness keeps Campbell's directorial dignity afloat. It just goes to show you that Martin Campbell can be as good of a director as the best of the best in the business if he is working with good material. A very well written script by The Departed (2006) and Body Of Lies (2008) scribe William Monahan gives Campbell plenty to work with and frequent cinematography collaborator Phil Meheux helps Campbell create the exquisitely dark look that the film has. Starting off with a bunch of clich├ęs, Edge Of Darkness grows into greatness once the crucial catalyst occurs which violently steers the story towards action, thrills, and suspense while a heavy human element gives the film direction and emotion. Edge Of Darkness had me glued to my seat but found time to move me as well - if you are in the mood for a good modern thriller, Edge Of Darkness is in the same league with the best of them.

CBC Rating: 8/10

No comments: