Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Edge of Darkness (2010)

I’ve harped on before about how I think the purest way to see a film is to know nothing about it at all beforehand, to go in with a tabula rasa as it were.  In this way one takes no preconceptions or prejudices with them and so the movie is completely fresh; such was the case for me and Edge of Darkness.  Directed by Martin Campbell (better known for Goldeneye, Casino Royale and Green Lantern), Edge of Darkness is a tale of investigation and revenge based on a 1985 BBC mini-series directed by, well, actually directed by Martin Campbell!  Now, I’ve not seen the 1985 series of the same name so I can’t make unfavourable comparisons; though it does strike me as surprising that for the movie version the story was moved from Yorkshire to Boston.  Though after a little digging this is probably because despite it being a BBC film it was funded to an extent by Mel Gibson’s production company Icon Productions.

So naturally, it stars Mel Gibson in the main role: Thomas Craven, a Boston police detective, whose daughter Emma is brutally gunned down on his front porch (not a spoiler, it happens in the first 5 minutes).  The story is then about Tom finding out why Emma was killed and finding those responsible.  Gibson is good, being at the same time suitably down-beaten but also having that gritty determination that a detective would have.  I’ve not seen Payback, but I’m imagining a similar role, though the emphasis here is probably more on the investigation as to why his daughter was murdered than rather out and out revenge.  Danny Huston makes an appearance as the head of the Northwood research facility in his usual rent-a-creep way; not to belittle his performance at all, he is after all usually very good.  Completing the famous names is Ray Winstone as an enigmatic British agent whose role is intentionally ambiguous, demonstrating that Emma’s death is part of a far larger conspiracy.

Technically I didn’t think Edge of Darkness did anything fancy.  It’s not just a point and shoot movie though, it is made with enough craft to enjoy watching, but it’s not as accomplished as Casino Royale or as cumbersome as Green Lantern.  The music, composed by Howard Shore was suitably mysterious and tense, but largely atmospheric rather than bold and thematic.  Overall, I found Edge of Darkness to be very watchable with enough intrigue and acting talent on show to make it a worthwhile way to spend an evening. But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.