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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Edge of Darkness (2010) - Drama

Edge of Darkness (2010) - Mel Gibson is Thomas Craven a hard nosed cop from Boston readying for a visit from his daughter Emma. Shortly after arriving Emma (Bojana Novakovic) appears to be getting sick and quickly. After arriving at the house in Rosi (Roslindale for you out of towners) she really deteriorates and as the two leave the house for the hospital a man in a ski mask yells "CRAVEN!" and blows the woman away before speeding off in his car.
This starts the film which is a revenge thriller from director Martin Campbell in which the grieving father and bad ass cop tracks down those responsible for the death of his child. In the story there is intrigue, international weapons dealings, corrupt politician and nefarious corporate heads. Craven being more competent then most Boston cops maneuvers independently to discover the truth, while the department apparently does little. Considering the number of unsolved murders in the city last year this is not a big stretch. While moving with this plot it is also a story of a father coming to terms with having lost touch with his little girl.

What is a stretch is the ridiculous accents and the obvious sellout cop who from the very first scene plays it so you know he will be the turncoat. The idea should be that you give a little but hide most of what you are going to do further in the movie, not just make it obvious there is something not right about your character. Initially everyone except Craven believes he was the target but we quickly learn that Emma's life was not so clear cut. The fact that the location has nothing to do with the story is evident from the begining,. This could have be shot anywhere but for the tax breaks Massachusetts gives to film makers. After hearing the accents of the actors you will wish they had filmed it somewhere else.

Gibson does a nice job as a grieving man and the script by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell has a nicely developed device of the daughter appearing to Craven throughout the story. It acts to show the grief of the main and to help him reconcile regrets of not knowing her as well as he should have. It was touching and effective even if it did not drive the plot, it drove the emotional journey the main character was on.

This is a nothing to lose revenge story and because of it the antagonist in it are all expendable. Craven driven throughout with submerged rage effectively hadles thugs as needed. It is his story and the script doesn't waste the audiences time with a parellell story about what the police are doing. That said there was also a secondary story of a CIA spook named Jedburgh (Ray Winestone) whose job it is to clean up the embarrassing mess Emma left. He was developed as a man facing a moral delema and how it plays out is very satisfyingly. His character moves through the movie with good subtext and his interactions with Craven are well thought out. At a philosophical crossroads Jedburg gives witness to the honor and honesty of Craven's actions.

In the end justice is served but not quite as this reviewer thought going into the film. Still it was satisfying enough although not my normal fare.
Rating (5.8) Anything 5.0 and over is recommended. Zombiegrrlz rating, I would RENT it.

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