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Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston
Writers: William Monahan/Andrew Bovell
Director: Martin Campbell
Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Mel Gibson...anti-semite, drunkard, director, all around nutcase...and oh yeah, an actor. His first film in god knows how long, he has returned in the crime drama Edge of Darkness, based off of the BBC mini-series of the same name. He plays Thomas Craven, a Boston police offer who's daughter is murdered on his front doorstep. Initially, everyone (including him) thinks it was supposed to be him to die, but as he unravels the mystery, he discovers that there's more to the story than he originally thought.

While watching the film, I could hear the audible snores of a man who was sleeping in the aisle next to me. That's a good case for the film itself: save for a couple of exciting sequences, Edge of Darkness is a boring film. It's not that there's nothing going on; there is actually plenty, conspiracies, murder, a "whodunit" mystery. The thing is, none of it is exciting to watch and for the first half of the film, I found myself squirming and just waiting for it to end. Thankfully in the second half, the film really kicked into gear and it got more tolerable and even exciting. Half of a film being good does not make for an overall enjoyable experience though.

Gibson slaps a good ol' Boston movie accent on for the role, sounding almost like a New Yorker through out the whole thing. I am from Massachusetts, and I know that the accent exists, but when I hear it done in films, it just sounds so...fake (I'm looking at you cast of The Departed!). He does good in the role for what it is, exercising his acting chops to cry and to scowl and to kick ass. His main nemesis, played by Danny Huston, however continues to do some bad work. Outside of 30 Days of Night, I cannot remember Huston ever being good in anything and he continues that streak here. It feels like acting, rather than natural, and he is trying too hard to seem evil. Winstone, who plays someone also on the case (or is he?), is the best part of the film character-wise. He isn't in it much, but he steals whatever scenes he is in.

The story takes some clever twists and turns, but they use the device of Craven being able to see his daughter (both at the age she died, and when she was a little kid) in spots. It came off hokey, rather than endearing, and it takes you out of a supposedly serious film. That's a device that should not be used in anything trying to retain credibility.

I will give it one nod: the lines Gibson uses in the film are very quotable and I'm already throwing in "are you gonna be on the cross or the one bangin' in the nails" randomly in conversations. It's rare for a serious movie to have such one liners, but there you go.

It's not that Edge of Darkness sucks; it's okay, but that's the problem: it's merely okay. It's one of those movies you'll forget about until you see at Wal Mart one day buying something you actually want to buy. Martin Campbell (Vertical Limit, Casino Royale) has directed a film that looks good, but isn't worth watching in a theater. If I were you, I'd wait to either rent it or buy it in a future two pack with Righteous Kill.

Final Verdict:
C

 





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