Sunday, February 21, 2010

Edge of Darkness (2010)

EDGE OF DARKNESS
DIRECTED BY: MARTIN CAMPBELL
WRITTEN BY: WILLIAM MONAHAN & ANDREW BOVELL
OVERALL SCORE: 4.75/10


After his daughter his shot down in front of his eyes, Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) questions whether or not that shot was meant for him, or his daughter. As he begins to investigate the circumstances, he uncovers a secret far worse than he could have imagined.

So, you've got a quality director, right off one of the biggest hits of his career (publicly and critically). You've got a writer right off his first Oscar win. The return of Mel Gibson, the ever reliable Ray Winstone and Danny Huston supporting, and yet the entire time I found myself stuck on one burning question: where did it all go wrong? Edge of Darkness is by no means a "bad" movie, if anything it's a movie that seems to just lack anything good. So weighed down by plot contrivances, off balance acting, and misdirection, it's the sort of movie you watch, and never understand how they just couldn't get it right.

Gibson's performance wanders around, never really grounded, and is more of an accent than it is a performance. He seems to overact the emotional moments (as evident by the disappearing accent trick - take that, rabbits). While Ray Winstone seems to be playing your basic unemotional gun for hire, in the back of my head I was stuck with a burning question: what is the point of him being there? This only gets worse with Huston as the sick (mentally) head of the (evil) corporation Craven's daughter was working for. Huston has all the talent in the world, but here it felt like the character's actions were always out of place with the scene (even if deliberate, it irritated me to no end). Once you get out of these three though, the performances go off the cliff in a hurry. With bad direction and writing each scene with these supporting players feels like an exercise in over acting. Forced aggression, and indiscernible fear, never adds up to the shining 5 minutes they're asked to take over for.

Still for all the problems with the acting, much of this film's problems I leave at the foot of Campbell, Monahan, and Bovell. The script is repetitive, and unfocused. Weighed down by trying to be both a political and a corporate corruption attack, neither of them seems planned out, and the plot points are far too weak to really carry any impact or surprises. Worse yet, I could never shake just how "bright" this movie is. For a movie about going to the "edge of darkness," I wonder Campbell and crew found it apropos to go to the edge of lighting. All of it just combines into a mix mash of mediocrity and a depressing lack of cohesion. It forces upon the viewer a general lack of care for our characters, and how they manage that with 30+minutes of somber moments.... well, that's beyond me.

While it's not the worst film you could see this year, Edge of Darkness is a mediocre film weighed down even farther by some horrid secondary performances, and an uninspired behind the scenes effort. I still love many of those involved... let's just hope this is more of a failed attempt than a sign of things to come.

6 better thoughts:

Casey said...

I felt as though there was no real mystery behind anything to this story. There's no aha moment where everything clicks, and they try to make up for that with violence and mel gibson taking his pound of flesh the hard way. Or, easy way, if you were the one making this movie. Just give him a gun and have him shoot his way to vengeance with no real satisfying unraveling of the plot.

My brother said he was tempted to stand up during the final scene of the movie and yell: "FREEDOM!!!" I couldn't agree more.

Univarn said...

@Casey that's a very good point. I didn't even think to make it. The entire plot is so incredibly predictable it doesn't even try to make you doubt it.

Candice Frederick said...

ouch, i was hoping this film would be better. a la Ransom.

Casey said...

Ransom was a great flick. The problem with Gibson is that he has had those really great movies, but then comes out with a couple more that try to play him in the same sort of role and re-live what he once created. For this one, I feel like they thought he played the mad dog out for vengeance really well in Ransom, which then gave way to the idea to cast him in roles like Payback and Edge of Darkness. That said, he was also cast in The Patriot in a vengeance role after Ransom, which I thought was a great movie

thistimeitwillbedifferent said...

Wow, the dreaded -5 score! I nearly went to see this last week but, like so many of my 'nearly' cinema trips these days, I didn't make it.

On the Payback/Ransom discussion, I actually think Payback is the better film of the two. It's very well shot, has some extremely black humour contained within and keeps me interested every time I watch it. Ransom on the other hand I thought was much of a muchness and I really struggle to take Sinise seriously in that type of role (see also: Snake Eyes).

If this was intended to be Payback 2 I'd be very interested; Ransom 2, less so.

DEZMOND said...

Lovely Bojana Novakovic who played Mel's daughter in this movie, is Serbian by origin :)

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