Aging, balding Mel Gibson is on the redemption trail. After a 7½-year screen absence, connected to some well-publicized personal problems, he has returned to a familiar milieu. He’s back in the revenge/thriller mode following his earlier tracks in Mad Max 1-3, Lethal Weapon 1-4, Braveheart, The Patriot, Payback, Ransom, and his abbreviated film version of Hamlet.
Edge of Darkness is again about revenge, with a few twists and some tight direction by Martin Campbell, who gave us Casino Royale. The story is based on a 25-year-old BBC mini-series, and is replete with corpses, soon-to-be corpses, later-to-be corpses, double-dealing, triple-dealing, and a cast ranging from suave corporate no-goodniks to a Brahmin Massachusetts Senator with a very clenched jaw, and a slew of good Boston cops. However, the one who captures attention is a rather sinister British fixer named Darius Jedburgh, a lover of fine wine and good cigars. He’s played admirably by the impeccable Ray Winstone (one of the very few who survived in The Departed).
Gibson plays Tom Craven, a beat-up, dour Boston detective (complete with an ersatz Boston accent). Does he have – did he have – a wife? We’re never told, and don’t really care. He does have a daughter, Emma, with whom he apparently has an on again/off again relationship. She’s an M.I.T. graduate, and an intern at some mysterious company. Early on she is gunned down while standing on Craven’s doorstep, right next to him. The rest of the movie is predictably about the quest to find the assassin, the motive and the thirst for revenge. Was Craven the target, or could the assassin have intended to kill his honorable daughter all along? Follow the blood.
The company Emma toiled for engaged in some very naughty stuff involving nuclear something or other. Emma and her boyfriend uncover some shenanigans and the game is on. The corporate suits, in league with some shady government operatives are in some conspiracy, and it’s now up to Craven to work through the web. Aided by visions of Emma past and Emma present, Craven gets going. At Act III chaos sets in. Anyone who can suspend disbelief long enough could enjoy the action and acting.
Rated R for language and violence.