Friday, January 29, 2010

TGIF Movie Review: The Return of Mel Gibson

Edge of Darkness

Edge of Darkness is a film adaptation of the 1985 BBC television series of the same name -- both directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and produced by Michael Wearing. But the biggest buzz surrounding the film is focused on Mel Gibson's return to the screen after a long absence. In his first major starring role since 2002's Signs, Gibson plays Boston Detective Thomas Craven -- whose daughter (Bojana Novakovic) is brutally murdered right before his eyes. Craven sets off on a mission to investigate her murder -- learning that his daughter's activism played a key role, but that corporate and political cover-ups are hiding the truth.

Danny Huston (The Aviator, The Constant Gardener) plays the shady businessman who heads up the ridiculously fictitious corporation where Craven's daughter worked. Most intriguing is Ray Winstone (Beowulf, The Departed), who plays a government agent sent to cover up the murder. Robert De Niro had originally been cast in Winstone's role, but walked out due to creative differences. Smart move. Although there are some surprisingly hard-hitting action scenes, the ridiculous plot points win out. It gets laughable after a while when one-by-one, characters that know the truth and fear for their lives, decide to stay put as sitting ducks. Wouldn't you find a better place to hide than your own home? For the most part, Gibson -- looking quite weathered and worn -- rises above the silliness to deliver an entertaining performance. So ultimately, I'm left with only a minimum recommendation for a so-so thriller thanks mostly to Gibson's return. [Rated R; opens today]

Grade: B-

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