Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Movie Review: Edge of Darkness

For a while it looked like Mel Gibson had killed his movie career. Between movies found insensitive by some groups (really? Passion of the Christ? People feel they, as a modern group, are being called to account for a 2000 year old event because somebody made a movie based on the best documented source available? Perhaps some Persians should have been up in arms over 300 then...), drunk driving, and all around oddness. He kind of was becoming the Dennis Rodman of cinema.
Mix in the train wreck Apocalypto and you have a guy nobody really wants to see or hear from. This is not the same guy who made Lethal Weapon, Braveheart, The Patriot or even Paycheck.
Somewhere along the line he lost his cachet, and being somewhat up in years, his days as an action star seem somewhat behind him, yet an action-thriller was the entire marketing of Edge of Darkness.
It is unfortunate that the previews spoil one of the best "twists" in this fairly by-the-numbers action adventure yarn. There are a couple other minor surprises, but it mostly follows the film-by-numbers to the letter.
Not that it is a knock on it...Darkness is a rollicking good time with plenty of violence, intriguing characters, a mystery that, even if you figure it out the first time the villain and/or anti-heroes come on screen, is still fun to watch get where it is going.
When Emma Craven (Bojana Novakocik) is shot down in front of Detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson), it sets him on an investigation that will lead to the halls of Congress, the headquarters of major corporations, and points in between.
Along the way he has some fascinating interplay with Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), the mysterious enforcer-for-hire who takes an interest in preventing Craven from ever discovering the truth.
As the body count rises, it seems everyone who could help Craven turns up dead, yet he relentlessly draws closer and closer to finding out the truth of who was responsible for the death of his daughter. Can he find the answer before he is killed himself?
The answer is mildly surprising, but the trip is what is really entertaining.

If you like action-adventure movies, this is an excellent diversion for a few hours. Winstone is perfection in his role and is perhaps the most well-developed character along the way. If you are surprised that Senator Jim Pine is represented as a Republican you have no concept of the American political scene. If the bad guys being who they are surprises you...well, again, wake up and smell the smoke stacks, my friends.
In the end, it is an entertaining 1:48 and worth seeing on a matinee...or at least on Netflix.