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Edge of Darkness (2010 movie)

A movie directed by Martin Campbell

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Gibson Still Delivers Despite A Convoluted Plot

  • May 28, 2010

You know something sinisterly good is cooking when bodies start plopping up from beneath the serene surface of a woodland river in Connecticut, with what seems like the façade of a nuclear facility looming in the distance. That facility belongs to Northmoor, the evil corporation that serves as the antagonist of Edge of Darkness. They’re in charge of the nation’s nuclear stockpile, they say. It’s all under the jurisdiction of the President of the United States, they defend. Any accusations of nuclear weapons-building shall be met with the phrase, “Classified Information,” they clamored. And so begins a winding story of conspiracy, cover-ups and point blank murder, one that unfurls ever so messily in front of the desperate target reticule of Boston detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson).

Yet this conspiracy isn’t so much winding as it is full of harsh speed bumps. You get a sense of the movie’s pacing from the get-go when a happy-go-lucky father/daughter reunion quickly takes a turn for the worse before you’ve even got the chance to gather yourself. You knew something was up though—and your heart let you know it—when Emma Craven’s (Bojana Novakovic) nose started bleeding as she stewed her dinner plate before daddy’s home-cooked meal was even ready off the stovetop. Excitement right from the opening tip-off? I could get used to this, you convince yourself. Unfortunately, that’s about as good as it gets until the conclusion of the movie. Everything else in-between feels like drawn out filler that builds slight suspense without ever really getting out of the gate. You never really know what’s going to happen because the film doesn’t let you in on anything more than what Gibson’s character knows and learns as the movie progresses, but this means your thrill factor is only ever as high as Thomas Craven’s at any point in the story.

What this movie gets right are the transitions, or the lack thereof, between what are supposed to be quiet and comfortable scenes and the ones that shoot you in the face with loudly literal surprise attacks. While they may be cheap scare tactics, there’s something to be said about the way the film builds up tension prior to each and every one of these scenes. And there’s no need for a riveting musical suspense score, either; rising trumpets and deep shaking bass in moments of sheer anticipation do the job just fine. Everywhere else the movie is perfectly quiet, not including the surprise fright sounds that explode at you just when you’re at the edge of your seat ready to jump out of your own pants. During these moments, pacing seems just about perfect. You’d think director Martin Campbell (2006’s Casino Royale) knows a thing or two about pacing, but then you’re quickly thrust back into the waiting game that is the rest of the movie. To his defense, Campbell IS struggling to fit the story of an entire 1985 miniseries of the same name into just under 2 hours of runtime. A tall order, one that may have been doable had the length of the film been just a little bit longer.

Edge of Darkness gets you wondering whether Mel Gibson as Thomas Craven actually gives the movie its purported edge. His fragile portrayal of daddy going delicately mad, seeing hallucinations and hearing voices, at times having full-on conversations with a daughter that is decidedly nowhere in the vicinity is a very believable one. Craven is a father on the verge of a brand new haunting, and we get that. We feel the freshness of daughter Emma’s death with every desperately sad facial expression that Gibson sends across the screen, with every frantic movement he makes as the tragic surviving father of his own brutally murdered child. Perhaps Gibson’s ability to convey a raw, grittily broken parent with nothing to lose is the film’s most enduring strength.

As it stands, Edge of Darkness could have benefitted from more movie length. To fit so many layers of treacherous plot into the space between two standard DVD covers is a dangerous path to take, and one that Campbell barely makes it out from alive. The scheme-heavy dialogue is not for the simple-minded, but if you can pay attention long enough to pick up the convoluted story’s nuances and you’ve got the patience to stomach long periods of plot thickening sprinkled with pinches of shirt-clenching suspense moments, there may yet be a rewarding movie experience for you here.

The darkness engulfs... Mel Gibson is Boston detective Thomas Craven.

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May 28, 2010
wow...very well-written review and I have to say I never would've said it myself. great work! You opened the review well and you closed real well. I am very impressed with this review! Hope to see more. :)
May 29, 2010
Thanks so much for the kind words, William! I did read your review as part of my research process before diving into my own review of the film, and I hafta admit that I was impressed enough to want to write an equally in-depth critique. I'm glad I can contribute to the community with my opinion, and you can rest assured there'll be more on the way. Thanks for reading and commenting, dude! Keep up the great work!
More Edge of Darkness (2010 movie) reviews
review by . January 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 ½ - Stars: A Father With Nothing To Lose is VERY DANGEROUS Indeed...
   The last time I was privy to a Mel Gibson film was “Apocalypto” when he was at its helm as director. The last time he was in front of the camera was in the movie called “Signs” which was a box-office success in some ways. Gibson once again stands in front of the camera with director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) at the helm in “Edge of Darkness”; an adaptation of the 1985 BBC series of the same name. The original was a 6-hour thrill ride full of …
review by . March 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A father's love
There has been much glorification about a mother's love and mother's day. Not much has been focussed on a father's love.      This movie is quite a disaster considering it's Gibson's. Too much talking, too little actions and slow pacing to be a thriller. Or is it really a thriller? Perhaps it's not. A drama I'd think is more appropriate. Oh sure, there are a lot of shootings & some car chasing, other than that, the only salvation lies in the love …
review by . May 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
How far are you willing to go to keep a secret?  How about the truth?  Depending on the circumstances and those involved, would you be willing to kill for either? Edge of Darkness is just that.  It borders the line between sanity and insanity, it tempts madness, and challenges one man's morals and limits after he witnesses the horrifyingly graphic death of his young daughter.  This conspiracy thriller film is a roller coaster ride through a haunted house that with quite literally …
review by . September 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Mel Gibson is back. And he's pissed off.
Despite his rants Mel Gibson has always been one of my favorite actors. So when i saw the preview for Edge of Darkness I was happy to see the guy acting again.      Edge of Darkness is a movie about a fathers love for his daughter. And how far he will go to avenge her after she is brutally killed on his front porch.   Sound Familiar? Well yeah because the story (like Avatar) is one we've seen numerous times already. Story wise theres nothing special about this …
review by . April 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A father's rage cab be a very dangerous thing....
Mel Gibson is a fantastic director, actor and producer   he is uncompromising when it comes to his films  such as" Gallipoli"(1981), " Lethal Weapon"(1987), "Ransom" (1996),or his Academy award winning film " Braveheart"(1991). Gibson has proved repeatedly why he is one of Hollywood's best and most powerhouse actors, after having a career that spans almost thirty years Mel Gibson had seemed to slip into obscurity after making his two last …
Quick Tip by . May 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Better in theaters when the volume of suspense is LOUD. If you're patient enough to reach the fast-paced ending, it might be worth the ride.
Quick Tip by . March 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Some see justice at the end, I see dark sides to corporations & governments. Not Gibson's best.
Quick Tip by . February 01, 2010
Decent Action Drama and whether you love or hate Mel Gibson, you cannot deny that the man can act.
review by . January 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Director Martin Campbell refashions his 1986 Edge of Darkness: The Complete BBC Series to fit into a two-hour film format of the same name starring Mel Gibson as the tortured father using his police credentials to discover the identity of his daughter's murderer. Is it a successful re-creation? For all intents and purposes, the piece does work as an example of unrelenting drama with a visceral reality that smarts the eyes and turns the stomach. A visibly older Gibson stares at the audience with …
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Kenneth Arias Azurin ()
Ranked #252
I'm a UCI graduate in my late-twenties working as a marketing ninjaneer while I search for what I believe to be my calling in the advertising business. I aspire to be the best ad copywriter there … more
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About this movie


Edge of Darkness is a 2010 film adaptation of the 1985 BBC television series of the same name. The film stars Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone, and is directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Michael Wearing, who also directed and produced the series respectively. Edge of Darkness follows a detective (Gibson) investigating the murder of his activist daughter (Bojana Novakovic), while uncovering political conspiracies and cover-ups in the process.

In the US, Argentina, and on DVD in Australia and the UK, the film is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, which also distributed the unrelated 1943 film with the same title.


Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson), a single father, has been a Boston homicide detective for many years. His 24-year-old daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic), his only child, is killed on the front steps of his home. At first it appears that Craven was the intended target. He soon uncovers evidence that leads him to think differently, and decides to pursue the information at all costs. He learns his daughter led a secret life that led to her murder. He quickly finds himself confronted with a shadowy world of corporate collusion with government-sanctioned murder. In the process he collides with a secret government operative, Darius Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), whose job is to clean up and hide any remaining evidence. Craven's singleness of purpose in finding answers about Emma's death becomes a transforming experience that changes his life.


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Movies, Action Movies, Mel Gibson, Edge Of Darkness


Director: Martin Campbell
Genre: Drama
Release Date: January 29, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros Pictures
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