Edge of Darkness – Mel Gibson – Movie Review
COMEBACK, GO HOME
by Kevin Bowen
published January 31, 2010
Edge of Darkness
now playing nationwide
Why is Mel Gibson shaving?
The government wants him dead. They’ve already killed his
daughter. Killers are still on his trail. Again, why is he shaving?
And why is he opening the door without his police-service
revolver? In fact, why is he opening the door, period? And don’t let that guy in! What are you thinking?!
Edge of Darkness, a revenge thriller and would-be comeback for the beleaguered Gibson, leaves you asking
those questions. You also are left asking what looks older, the balding Mel Gibson or the film’s exhausted plot? Conspiracies abound. If only
someone had conspired to make the film worthwhile.
Edge of Darkness also presents us with the paradox of director Martin Campbell. How can a man be so
successful with directing James Bond films (Casino Royale, GoldenEye) and so hopeless outside of the series (The Legend of
Zorro)? Squished together from a 1980s BBC miniseries, Edge of Darkness leaves doors swinging in the wind, barely attached at the
hinge. Entire scenes and subplots evanesce and then turn to vapor. One character’s fight with blindness drops in a single scene before the
darkness swallows it whole.
Edge of Darkness does have its pleasures. They come in the form of two of the better character actors
around – Danny Huston and Ray Winstone. Huston has a habit of falling back on slimy operators. While these roles put food on his table, he’s a
smarter actor and I wish he would do other things more often. Winstone eats everything and licks the plate as a wine-sipping man with no
identity. William Monahan’s dialogue does crackle from time to time, giving Gibson and the chubby Englishman something delectable to ooze at
It is rather shocking to see Gibson nowadays looking like
an aging Robert DeNiro. There’s something Fred Astaire in The Towering Inferno sad about watching such a gigantic movie star reduced to
playing in a bland revenge thriller.
As a grieving father lit with rage, Gibson remains a feral
avenger. After eight years on the other side of the camera, he dons the uniform, straps on the pads and hits the holes. Yet it’s like watching
aging male stars paired with Audrey Hepburn. There is a sadness watching him go through the motions, a star painted into a corner with nothing
else to do and nowhere else to go.
kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com