Film Review: Edge of Darkness

It’s been a long time since Mel Gibson has graced the big screen with his presence. His last big role was in the M. Night Shyamalan thriller, “Signs” and since then he has kept himself in the spotlight by directing a pair of “dead” language films, disparaging the Jewish race in a drunken fit, and being involved in a public split from his wife of nearly three decades. Regardless I have remained a pretty big fan of Gibson and have anxiously awaited his return to acting. Needless to say when the trailers for “Edge of Darkness” started appearing I got pretty excited to see Mel doing what Mel does best.

“Edge of Darkness” is based on a British mini-series of the same name, evidently it was pretty popular but until I sat down and saw the credits to the film I had no idea it existed. In anycase in this film adaptation, directed by original series director Martin Campbell of “Goldeneye” and “Casino Royale” fame, Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a Boston detective who witnessed his daughter get brutally gunned down in front of his house. Craven sets out on a quest to unravel the mystery behind who killed his daughter and why.

The premise behind the film is interesting if somewhat generic and played right it has been a successful formula used in the past. Unfortunately “Edge of Darkness” is a bore. A good thriller keeps viewers on their toes, keeps them guessing by dropping little hints and misdirection throughout the film. About halfway through the film I stopped caring about Craven’s quest to find out about his daughter’s killer because by then everything had already been revealed to the viewer. And I don’t mean the viewer has figured it out by that point, I mean there is no suspense left in the film because it blatantly and unapologetically reveals everything. When a thriller reveals too much it leaves viewers with only one option, to wait it out until the main character catches up to what we already know and thus wrapping everything up in a climactic finish. “Edge of Darkness” throws a wrench into this, which would seem like a good thing, except that the wrench makes no sense and ultimately is not even needed.

Speaking of stuff that makes no sense, the film features multiple plot threads that just do not get enough time to flesh themselves out ultimately leaving holes that could be driven through. I believe this all falls back on the fact that this is an adaptation of a six episode mini-series that spans an additional 200 minutes over this film version. I do not mean to sound like “Edge of Darkness” is a snooze fest or that it is a bad film. It is just nothing special, kind of a mediocre hodgepodge of storylines. Campbell has a knack for solid action set pieces and Gibson is entirely likable as Craven but neither was enough to get me to really care about the film.

I can not recommend you wasting your time in theaters with “Edge of Darkness” but if you are a fan of Gibson you may want to give it a shot as a rental. For everyone else I would steer clear completely.

3 out of 5

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