Sunday, January 31, 2010

Edge of Darkness

7 years, 1 Jew-rant, and a new hot girlfriend later, Mel Gibson is finally back on the big screen. And to be quite honest, I can't think of any reason why he shouldn't have chosen this film to make his return to acting. Yeah, it's not a gigantic action movie with a budget of 200 million dollars. But it IS a film that calls for all of Gibson's acting chops. Now despite your opinion on Gibson, you cannot deny the fact that he is a fucking incredible actor. And Edge of Darkness showcases another side of Gibson's acting. The role he plays doesn't call for a humorous insane-o, or a full-fledged badass without flaws. He plays Thomas Craven as a completely broken man. He, as he says in the movie, is the guy with nothing to lose. Now, you look at Martin Riggs, and all the crazy, outlandish things he does, they're all out of the charming insanity that he has. With Thomas Craven, he doesn't care what he has to do to get from point "A" to point "B". He just needs to get there. And you can see that in his face and eyes.

For those of you who don't know the synopsis of Edge of Darkness, here it is. Gibson plays a Boston detective whose daughter gets shot right next to him. He was suspected as the intended target, but he doesn't believe that he was. As he tries to investigate who murdered his daughter, he discovers that his daughter was apart of a conspiracy.

Now as far as story goes, it isn't terribly original. I mean, cops' kid dies, cop investigates, cop gets revenge. But the turns and plot points in the story are what stand out in the film. When the project was first announced with Gibson attached, I was amped. But then I found out William Monahan (who had written The Departed) was doing the screenplay. And since this was an 80's BBC mini-series, I knew he would make the film adaptation a good one. I haven't seen Infernal Affairs, but I hear Monahan did a phenomenal job in adapting it with The Departed. And since there was a conspiracy intwined into the story of Edge of Darkness, I was certain he would concoct some rad ideas. And that he did. Now Im not going to really go into the conspiracy aspect of the story, just because they're not really selling the film as a conspiracy movie as much as they are a revenge film. So I'll just let the whole conspiracy be a big surprise for you.

Now as much as they're selling it as a revenge film, they're also trying to sell it as an action movie. And I'll tell you one thing, it's not an action film. It does have a couple action sequences sprinkled throughout the movie. But it's a solid drama. And you know what? Im glad it is. Because the best thing about the film is Mel Gibson's performance. And had this been an action movie, I think his performance would have been lost. I mean some of the most intense scenes in the movie are when they're just focusing on Thomas Craven's face. For instance, there is a scene directly after the scene where his daughter gets murdered. And in that scene, a detective who tries to act like one of his best buddies, tries to act like he gives a fuck. And Craven knows he's full of shit. And in that scene, you're just waiting for him to snap.

Another thing this movie delivered on, was the violence. Keep in mind, it was nothing over-the-top or spectacular, but there was a hefty sum. From his daughter being completely opened up with a shotgun, to some broad being mowed down by a car, to the whole end stand-off, it was pretty fucking bloody. Head shots, chest shots, jugular gashes, and even... Milk. Milk? Yes. Milk. Watch the fucking movie, and you'll understand.

Though, I still believe Gibson carried this film without a doubt. I need to give credit to Ray Winstone. This is a guy whose career didn't pick up until he was about 40 years old. How the fuck did that happen? This dude killed in The Departed as Mr. French. He was pissed, loyal, and cold. And though, I thought he was good in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I didn't like how they wrote his character after his first 15 minutes. He seemed like he could have been a killer sidekick to Indy. But no, they wrote him as the typical greedy rat. All in all, Winstone showcased another radical performance in Edge of Darkness. He played Jedburgh with enough mysteriousness without making the character bland. And he did so by having the perfect balance of dry/dark humor.

All in all, the film succeeds on almost every level. Im not hailing the film as a masterpiece, but it's definately a fucking solid drama. Good story, great performances, and enough blood to keep you satisfied. A nice way to start the year of 2010.
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