Review: Edge of Darkness

Twists, turns, betrayals, pain, loss, shots to the head and a pissed off Mel Gibson.  Edge of Darkness is a movie that exudes pain while telling a gripping tale of corruption on multiple levels.  And Mel’s pissed off.

Directed by Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale), this is a multi-layered story where you’re not allowed to turn your brain off or you’ll be left behind.  Unfortunately it doesn’t get the highest number of tickets because the words get in the way of an otherwise intelligent thriller.

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THE SETUP:
The Kravens are enjoying a father/daughter reunion when suddenly a drive-by killer introduces the young woman to the business end of a shotgun.  Overwrought with pain and loss, Daddy Kraven (Mel) takes it upon himself to investigate the violent crime.  His inspection takes him on a path he wasn’t expecting – a black-ops hit man with an agenda of his own (Ray Winstone), nuclear research facilitators (Danny Huston), federal corruption, and hippy fanatics.  It’s just a matter of how far he’ll go to find those responsible for his daughter’s death, even after he finds out the reasons why.

THE THOUGHTS:
First off, no one does mad like Mel.  Regardless of his drunken temper in real life, his celluloid intensity speaks for itself (Ransom, Braveheart, Bird on a Wire…wait, it was me that got mad at the last one).  His ability to tap into something primal when it comes to loss and rage is always amazing to see, even sometimes making an OK movie a little better (The Patriot).  Having said that, he does it again here and does it well. You feel for this man.  His Boston accent doesn’t distract too much either.

This is not a movie you can turn your brain off for.  You want that, go see Avatar again.  There are a lot of people to keep track of and a story to remember so you can understand what happens next and why.  That’s not a bad thing.  If you liked State of Play, you’ll probably like this one too.  It’s nice to have a movie that doesn’t necessarily spoon feed you.

The movie is really all about Mel but there is another bright spot – Ray Winstone.  Best known for Indiana Jones’ latest sidekick and the animated guy in Beowulf, Winstone brings a weight and to the role of the “grey guy”…not bad, not necessarily good.  He seems at a crossroads and his story plays out pretty great, even if it’s really hard to understand him through his thick-ass English accent.  The rest of the cast…Danny Huston does corporate slimey just fine and Bojana Novakovic as the daughter fills a need.  Neither blows you away but they’re serviceable.

If I had one big complaint, it would be the need to say cheesy lines.  It was like the writer decided to slip in some lines just to show how witty he was rather than serve the story – i.e. “You have to decide whether you’re hanging on the cross, or banging in the nails”…really?  People from Boston talk like that? TALK LIKE A PERSON!

EDGE OF DARKNESS Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend.
A thriller that will keep you in your seat with a great, intense performance from Mel.  It’s been eight years since he was on screen (Signs was the last one) and we’ve missed you.  I’ll keep watching you even if you do stupid stuff in real life.  Reeeeeeeeeeeeally stupid.

Coming Attractions:
The Losers (release date: April 9, 2010) – Oh this is going to be fun.  Based on a DC/Vertigo graphic novel, this is a story of outcast intelligence agents trying to get their day jobs back.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the epitome of smarmy-kickass while Chris Evans does the cocky-funny-eye candy thing.  Speaking of which.  Testosterone Intermission.  Zoe Saldana. wow.

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Randomly Recommended
Sexy Beast (2000) – His name is Don Logan and he will ‘F’ YOU UP!  Ben Kingsley is the Anti-Ghandi in this British heist film.  Ray Winstone is sucked into doing one more job and Don Logan is not a man you say No to.

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Road Warrior (1981) – The 2nd of the Mad Max trilogy, this movie set the stage for all post-apocalyptic movies after it.  You’ll watch this and think you’ve seen it before but really, everyone ripped off this fantastic Aussie action flick.

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 Review: Edge of Darkness
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  1. What are you talking about? I talk like that…don’t I?

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