Today: February 26, 2024

Edge of Darkness Cinema

We all love 1980s revivals; Starsky and Hutch, Charlies Angels and
the much anticipated A-Team. If it was good then, it will be good now,
right? Unfortunately, Martin Campbell’s Edge of Darkness shows
that some things do not age as well as Madonna. A wildly popular and
critically lauded British mini-series of the same name aired in 1985,
capturing perfectly the cold war nuclear tensions and political unrest
of the time. The film version, while well-acted and fast moving, is now, nothing new.

Thomas Craven (Gibson) is a Boston cop whose adult daughter Emma (Novakovic)
is shot dead on their front porch, soon after she returns home for a
visit. Initially it is assumed the elder Craven was the intended target,
in revenge for a previous arrest or prosecution. Unable to rest until
he finds his daughter’s killer, Craven begins an investigation of his
own alongside the official police search. Upon finding a loaded gun in
Emma’s drawer, Craven is forced to dig deeper into Emma’s life, and
discovers a side of her he never imagined. Emma worked at Northmoor, a
top-security nuclear research facility with government contracts.

In the course of his investigation, Craven is drawn into a shadowy
world of corruption, government conspiracy and corporate intrigue.
Undeterred by a confrontation with Jedburgh (Winstone), a
government operative, a ‘fixer’ who’s agenda is never quite clear,
Craven takes on big business and government in a bullet-filled,
action-packed adventure.

The film is entertaining and well-made. In his first go in front of
the camera in eight years, Gibson is convincing as a straight-shooting
(literally and figuratively), but dismayed father, trying to keep it
together long enough to solve this, most important case. He has great
chemistry with Winstone, who is subtle but threatening. The plot is
forever twisting and turning, but in its effort to keep you on your
toes, it ends up feeling convoluted, and at times clichéd. Sleazy CEOs,
saccharine senators and more corruption than you can keep track of might have seemed new in 1985, but feels dated now. We’ve just seen it too many times before.

Edge of Darkness follows from last year’s State of Play in reminding
us of the trouble in making mini-series into films. Edge was cut from
six hours to two, and the action and violence that would have been
spread out over many viewings gets condensed into one short romp. Viewed
altogether, Craven’s desire to punch or shoot anyone and everyone feels repugnant and unnecessary, rather than righteous and understandable.

Ultimately, this film will entertain you for two hours, but
government intrigues and nuclear foul-play fail to terrify in our more
cynical, jaded age. The personal side rings true, and the journey that
Craven undergoes trying to understand a secret side of his daughter’s
life is both painful and heart-warming. Director Martin Campbell is,
however, an action expert, having directed Casino Royale, Golden Eye and the Zorro and one feels he could have done better.

Slickly put together and visually entertaining, Edge of Darkness is
fast-paced and energetic, but does not provide anything we have not seen
many times before.

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