Edge of Darkness
a little hard to believe, but Edge of Darkness is Mel Gibson’s first
major acting job since starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s alien-invasion drama
Signs in 2002. (He also did a supporting role in The Singing
Detective that same year.)
course, Mel never really disappeared during all that time – however much of
the notice he received during those years was not necessarily for all the
his career, Mel shifted to filmmaker mode – writing, producing and directing
the controversial but staggeringly popular biblical epic The Passion of
the Christ and the pretty-much ignored Native American drama
Apocalypto. Gibson certainly showed some significant cojones for
making each film completely in a dead language with subtitles (Aramaic for
Passion, Yucatec Mayan for Apocalypto)
– however, it was a huge stretch for a fan base who expected action films
and the occasional light comedy from the man.
there was his personal life, which became a PR person’s nightmare. There
were quite a few protests that the Passion film was anti-Semitic.
Gibson had an admitted drinking problem, which culminated in the infamous LA
traffic arrest that turned into an obviously intoxicated rant about Jews and
women – adding the term “sugar tits” to the popular vernacular. Later there
was the break-up of his long-standing and apparently rock-solid marriage due
to an affair with a Russian model that he had also impregnated.
Subsequently there was an ugly break-up with said model…
the meantime, he hadn’t starred in a hit movie since What Women Want
guy needs career rehab, STAT!
Therefore, with Edge of Darkness, Gibson returns to the turf that
made him a superstar. He plays Thomas Craven, a Boston cop whose adult
daughter comes home on a sudden visit only to become violently ill the first
night and be shot down right next to him on his porch as he is trying to get
her to the hospital. This leads him on a stoic path to find out if he had
been the target or whether his daughter had gotten involved in something
Gibson has played in similar films before – Payback, Conspiracy Theory
and Ransom come immediately to mind – but luckily Edge of
Darkness does have some interesting ideas on how to shake up the old
course, the truth becomes much deeper and more involved than anyone would
imagine, leading to a labyrinth of multi-national corporations, government
officials, the police, environmental activists and innocent bystanders.
could safely lay odds that someone in the force will dime him out – and be
pretty sure from the beginning which policeman it will be.
While the story is somewhat predictable, it is well paced and smart – and
has a wild card. That is character actor Ray Winstone as a shady government
fixer with a Cockney accent and questionable motives who keeps popping up on
the periphery of the case. This character is by far the most intriguing of
the story and the few times when Winstone shares the screen with Gibson, it
raises the star’s game significantly.
Edge of Darkness return the luster to Gibson’s somewhat tarnished
star? Probably not, there is a little too much of a been-there-done-that
feel to the movie to really cause any great excitement in audiences.
However, in the actor’s career it is definitely a step back in the right
direction. If he can follow it up wisely, Gibson’s career could get back on
track. If not, he has still made a smart and rather enjoyable conspiracy
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: May 7, 2010.