Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: 'Edge of Darkness' [B-]

Within five minutes of Martin Campbell's Edge of Darkness, I had completely forgotten about the anti-Semitic drunkard that had seemed to invade and permeate in the body and soul of Mel Gibson for the last five years.

I don't know if it's gone, (or if the man is any saner after returning to the screen in a big production for the first time since 2002's Signs) but his performance, full of rage and wrinkles, is good enough to elevate the film into a perfectly enjoyable (albeit rutted) thrill-ride which proves that the bad, in fact, do not sleep well.

Edge of Darkness is a pulsating, brooding, mad-as-a-hornet revenge-seeker by way of corporate conspiracy paranoia and dread - bare-knuckled and mean. As Gibson, with his big stubby hands, pries around in the wake of his daughter's seemingly unmotivated death, he unravels a mighty juicy plot of collusion and corporate greed. The violence is real and quantifiable (especially in the last fifteen minutes) and in my estimation, oddly earned.

The resulting body count is therefore almost immeasurable and the screen alive - palpitating with serious fear, instability lurking around every corner. Unfortunately, the screenwriters and director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) play their hand by revealing too much about the initially mysterious weapons manufacturing company called Northmoor. (Given a face by a clean-cut Danny Huston). By the end, you feel as if you could recite their company lines and quarterly profits.

This isn't necessarily a film that hearkens back to the good old days of 70's conspiracy and paranoia, but rather a 21st-century makeover - energetic opposed to hypnotic and implausible opposed to reasonable. It's got a few potholes and it's suffocatingly mawkish (let's just say Mel's daughter shows up from time-to-time), but upon review, I remember Edge of Darkness as a fairly smooth ride.

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