Review: Is Edge of Darkness a Good Movie?

Edge of Darkness is a Mel Gibson movie that was released in 2010 that earned a gross revenue of close to $80 million, with a budget of $87 million. The movie is a remake, or an adaptation, of the 1985 TV series which bears the same title. I consider myself somewhat of a fan of Mel Gibson movies, especially Apocalypto and Mad Max, so when I heard he had a new movie coming out, I had to get the details. I went on youtube and saw the trailers and thought it looked like a good movie. I'm not much of a movie theater kind of guy, so I waited for it to be released on DVD so I could rent it from my local redbox.

Despite the title, the movie itself is not a horror movie or a scary movie. It's more of a crime thriller drama that focuses on government conspiracies, political scandals, and the relationship of a father and his estranged daughter. Mel Gibson's character is Thomas Craven, a Boston, Massachusetts cop, and the basic plot is that his daughter is murdered and he launches a one-man investigation to find her killers and avenge her death. The more he begins to search for clues as to who killed her, the deeper the plot gets, and the more he begins to learn things about his daughter that he never would have suspected . I'm not going to spoil the movie for you, but let's just say that she was into some pretty serious stuff. The movie is a dark thought-provoking movie that has a rich plot, as well as the occassional action scene to balance things out nicely. It was similar to movies such as Taken and Steven Seagal's movie Belly of the Beast, in that it's about a father investigating a mystery surrounding his daughter and the situation she's ended up in. It also shares aspects of vendetta movies about personal revenge, such as Death Sentence, Mad Max, and A Law Abiding Citizen. Many critics, such as Rogert Ebert, gave this film positive reviews, but critics seem mixed on it because it received a 56% on the Rotten Tomatoes website. In all honesty, I think that many critics are biased and have a subliminal grudge against Mel Gibson's films because of his off-screen antics and various racial slurs. Putting his personal life aside, I thought it was a great movie and I think that anybody reading those critic's reviews should take them with a grain of salt. But then again, everybody has different tastes and there have been a few movies that received low reviews which I personally enjoyed. This movie is not only a crime thriller with a deep story to it, but it does a good job of showing the human condition and how sadistic and cruel some people can be to protect their jobs or their material riches. The villains in it, or I should say antagonists, were very human, very realistic, and not too over the top. The movie is believable enough in today's society, with all the scandals and coverups that have been exposed, that one might even think that it was based on a true story if they didn't know any better.

The movie was filmed in many parts of Massachussetts, where the setting of the film takes place. It does a good job of showing that colonial atmosphere that is common in the Northeast, and the setting of the movie reminded me of the same one that was on Clint Eastwood's movie Mystic River. There's a few scenes where Mel Gibson's character travels between towns in Massachusetts, and I thought it did a good job of contrasting the scenery changes between them. It has the small town feel to it, but also has the city feel as well. There's also a few instances where he visits a private business that is contracted by the government, and although this place was a little too high tech and futuristic for the rest of the movie, it added an interesting touch to the overall scenery of the film. The makers of the film obviously cared about details, because they also did a pretty good job of contrasting different living quarters, such as a rich Senator's home compared to your average blue collar worker's home.

Characters and Acting
Mel Gibson's acting as Officer Thomas Craven was excellent. The movie shows him in typical Mad Max fashion, as a nice and happy everyday man, who becomes cold and filled with hate when his daughter is killed. There's a few instances in the film, where he becomes somewhat delusional and talks to his dead daughter when he imagines she is speaking to him. This was great character development, because it was realistic in how it shows a few hints of post-traumatic psychotic behavior, but doesn't go overboard. In real life, this is how somebody affected with tragedy might really behave. British actor Ray Winstone, who is known for his gangster roles and tough guy persona, plays Darrius Jedburgh, a CIA cover-up man who helps Thomas Craven in his investigation, but is still somewhat shady. It's hard to tell what his motives for helping Craven are, and although it seems like he has morals at times, he did a good job of making us suspicious of him. Serbian-Australian actress, Bojana Novakovic, plays Craven's daughter Emma. Her role in the movie is brief and she only appears in about 15 minutes of the film total. Her acting was decent, but there wasn't many opportunities for her to show us her skills. Shawn Roberts plays David Burnham, Emma's boyfriend. His acting was pretty good, maybe a little over the top but still decent. His part in the movie is brief as well, and the only emotions we really see from him is fear and paranoia. The antagonist in the movie, John Bennett, is played by Danny Huston. He did well at making the audience hate him. The guy is emotionless and slimy, just like every good villain should be.

All in all, if I had to rate this movie as a percentage, I'd give it a 90% rating. Those critics who criticized it are free to think what they want about it, but I think Edge of Darkness is a very good movie. If your favorite flavors are mystery, action and revenge, then you will savor this movie. I love vengeance movies and this movie is going to go in my hall of fame for retaliation and get-back flicks. It's not just a movie about crime and drama, but about justice, conspiracy theories, and the American way. I highly recommend this movie for all age groups.

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