Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Edge of Darkness

Sometimes you see a movie trailer and you think immediately of another movie. Such was the case when I first saw the trailer for the new Mel Gibson movie, Edge of Darkness. A tough older man has tragedy strike his family, specifically his daughter, and a revenge mission of getting even ensues. Sound familiar? For me it did, it sounded an awful lot like the Liam Neeson movie, Taken. Taken was an on the edge of your seat two hour thrill ride. It was with that premise I thought, this may be a fun movie so I decided to see it on opening night. What I was to find out was that while there are similarities between these two movies, there is also a world of difference, not in a bad way, but it is just the way it is.

In Edge of Darkness we see an aging Boston homicide police officer Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) forced to investigate a tragic death that hits far to close to home. The investigation forces him to face the hard realities of his life as a police officer and a father. Instead of the action like one may be expecting from the movie trailers, what we have is action driven by dialog and story. Virtually all of the high octane action sequences are seen in the trailer with the movie offering nothing new. We see Gibson resort to a character driven plot that resembles more of a John Grisham novel than action movie. Edge of Darkness based on a popular BBC mini series tries to force the plot of a several hour mini series into a 2 hour movie.

While the direction, acting and cinematography are all adequate, for many, this movie will fall short. For those liking intense drama, mystery, and espionage you will find yourself enjoying the film for what it is. Gibson does a credible job, although not his best work as an actor and beautiful Bojana Novakovic does a good job as Craven’s daughter, Emma who also has a past and involvement that challenges Craven in the investigation of his life. The struggle, that need for discovery drives much of the drama that moves the film along. We see other characters such as the mysterious Jedburgh played beautifully by Ray Winstone. Winstone steals virtually every scene he is in, unfortunately, we don’t know much about him and that is one of the prevailing problems with the movie, there are just far too many characters we know so little about.

There are attempts to draw in spiritual parallels with most of the characters, including for most, the question of life after death. In these questions we see the development of some of the characters. While some will challenge the movie questions the eternal, even brining up the potential of ghosts, I challenge that inner struggle of not knowing, of desiring to do more while you are alive is really what is at question in Edge of Darkness. There is the concept presented that living near the edge of darkness may be necessary to ultimately being able to walk into the light at death which many relate to entering Heaven. In The Edge of Darkness, the concept of death and life beyond death is a prevailing theme. Questions abound such as; are we doing our best, doing what is right in order to ultimately move into the light? There has to be love of family, the desire to serve and care for others and ultimately being a part of fighting for justice, even at the cost of ultimate sacrifice. While we see the characters in the film do simple things like pray, wear prominent displays of crosses, we don’t see an overtly preachy film, and in fact, we wonder to some extent about what appears to be a lack of faith among the characters and the search for meaning and purpose in others. What we do see though are characters willing to sacrificially live out their beliefs.

The Edge of Darkness is a good film, but not a great film. It will find its niche if the word of mouth of those expecting a high action thriller don’t ruin the potential of others in wanting to see the film. It is unfortunately a situation where the trailers may hurt the film more than help it. While there will be that initial rush for those that expect something like Taken, there will be a great deal of disappointment if that is the expectation of those buying the tickets. Gibson does a credible job and there are memorable scenes. It just isn’t what most will expect and will unfortunately suffer due to the marketing efforts of the movie.

I am not disappointed I saw this film, but on a scale of 1 – 10 I can’t say it is really worth the $10 it cost for a ticket, now $6, maybe. So on a cost factor I give it an okay, but not great 6.

To see the trailer for The Edge of Darkness click on the video below, if the video don't appear, click on the following link:

Mel Gibson talks about the movie

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