THE RETURN OF MEL: A review of Edge of Darkness


Edge of Darkness, the new Mel Gibson movie, is a rather typical conspiracy film, most notably in the way that there is an evil organization that seems to have omnipotent power to get away with anything and everything; the only thing they can never seem to do is kill off various characters before they manage to give the hero just enough information to keep the plot going. The movie is entertaining enough and there are some good performances in it, especially by Danny Huston as the head of the evil corporation who, to paraphrase Pauline Kael, shows his penchant for playing rotting people. Mel Gibson is, well, Mel Gibson, but with a Boston accent that is never quite convincing. In fact, the only actors in the movie who have a convincing accent are Ray Winstone and Daniel Huston because both stick to their own. The movie is written by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell. Monahan also adapted Infernal Affairs into the Departed and as in that movie, Edge of Darkness (adapted from a British miniseries) takes place in the city of baked beans, the town de jour for police corruption. The script, as well as the direction by Martin (Casino Royale) Campbell, is manipulative and at times not that believable. There’s one fantastic scene where Gibson confronts Huston in his limo. But another scene has a friend of Gibson’s daughter get killed (after giving Gibson that next bit of important info, of course) in a shocking and brutal manner; it’s emotionally effective until you realize it was impossible for it to have happened the way it did. The motivations for the evil doers are a bit unclear, though some of what they are trying to do is very clever. All in all, it’s a serviceable enough time waster.
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