By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Edge of Darkness
Well, Edge of Darkness gets to it really quickly. Tom Craven (Mel Gibson) and his daughter look happy, loving. I buy it, and that’s really all I want to buy before it gets good. Then her murder happens quickly, and with intriguing mystery.
Review: Edge of Darkness
The story is full of details that you believe. Focusing on Tom watching the bloody water go down the drain indicates what he’s thinking about without having to tell you. His ongoing conversation with the voice he hears, or even with no voice, is enough real gravitas without becoming a melodrama.
Mel delivers on the darkness the title promises. It seems like his most intense performances since Lethal Weapon. I could imagine some of the scenes in this comparing to Riggs’ suicide attempt.
It’s story that plays in the familiar territory of conspiracy thriller, but by and for people who know the genre. Nobody needs a walk through. We just get it. The case seems so easy in the beginning, we know it must be set up. The characters know what’s up so they look ahead of things.
There’s good tough talk, a bunch of gruff men muttering threats and revelations. The human responses in the drama and tension subvert the genre just enough to show the film knows that people should be affected by their circumstances, but that’s that and move on before it loses momentum. Somehow the film has a BBC feel. The pace, the rhythm, you’ll get what I’m talking about if you watch BBC.
Action is sporadic. There’s a fast and furious fight scene that seems like a chaotic scuffle, but look closely. The nuance is there. Craven loses a tail really well. The violence is shocking. Some of the kills require supernatural timing by the bad guys, but the surprise works so you buy it.
It keeps you on edge the whole time. Just seeing the characters stand in front of a big window is scary. I’m waiting for a gunshot or something because that’s where my mind is at, and I think that’s where the film wants me.
I think it’s a one time movie. Once you know it, there’s no real repeatable spectacle, unless you really like tough guy atmosphere. I guess for me I can always watch survivors gather supplies, but other people will keep watching guys talk tough even when they know what’s going to happen.