Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Edge of Darkness. C+

One of the problems I had with Paul Haggis' In the Valley of Ellah can also be found in Edge of Darkness. It's that I didn't care about the victim. Both movies show weathered older men desperately seeking the truth about their children's deaths, and yet I didn't really care or feel any sort of grief. But what made Ellah a better movie was that I did feel sympathy for the dad, whereas in Darkness, I felt like I was just watching another Mel Gibson anger episode. Edge of Darkness, despite its high profile production and dense plot, is really just a comeback vehicle for Gibson, who prior to this hadn't been seen in front of the camera since Signs in 2002. You wouldn't know it seeing Gibson perform here. He naturally inhabits the persona of a revenge thirsty father, but maybe this is just because he's done it so many times before. These days it's hard to come by a good old fashioned murder story where the case doesn't go beyond family, friends, and enemies. Now it seems like the mysteries always dive into a government conspiracies, corporate corruption, and usually some sort of foreign espionage. In Edge of Darkness, we get just that. Thomas Craven (Gibson), a Boston detective, has just picked up his daughter when she is shot to death. Craven conducts the investigation and soon finds himself doing battle with a corrupt company called Northmoor, where his daughter was employed. His daughter recognized that the company was committing crimes, so she herself committed one to bring it down. The best part of Edge of Darkness was a man who acts as a mercenary of sorts. We never quite know what he's up to or who he wants to win. I guess he doesn't care. But anyway, this guy's played by Ray Winstone, who steals every scene he's in-even when he's conversing with Gibson. This movie definitely has its moments, but that's faint praise considering the talent behind the project. Martin Campbell, who made Casino Royale, directs, and William Monahan, who won an Oscar for The Departed, helped with the screenplay. These names, plus the star power in the cast, would lead you to expect that this would come through on all cylinders. Maybe that alone is why I left the movie slightly down. It's not that it's bad. It's just that it's too familiar and too disappointing.

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