Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Edge of Larkness

The Edge of Darkness or, as you all know it, one of the movies that came out recently that wasn't Avatar, isn't horrible. It just isn't all that great. It's one of those films that has a few good scenes that make you ask why the other scenes weren't much better.

The opening is pretty good and by "pretty good" I mean "competently delivers a portrait of a man in the grip of crushing despair." Mel Gibson plays Boston Detective Thomas Craven, a guy who totally never goes on alcohol fueled anti-Semitic tirades, who is excited that his 24 year old daughter (Bojana Novakovic) is coming home to visit. She feels kind of sick and eventually coughs up blood, something I'm sure has nothing to do with anything, before a masked gunman kills her with a shotgun in what seemed to be an attempt to kill him. As we see scenes where he hears her as well as he hears anything else and is constantly reminded of her in a million ways, I found myself wondering how a middle aged man like Craven would get over something like this. He has no wife and no other children so he has to deal with one of the worst things that can happen to a human being all alone. I really found myself feeling sorry for him and I think Gibson did a good job showing us how this man just barely holds everything together before finding a way to carry on.

But enough of that human, girly crap. The "way to carry on" that Gibson embraces is to obsessively investigate his daughter's death before eventually turning into Movie Stereotype #23, The Unstoppable Vengeance Machine. A UVM can do just about anything. He becomes unaffected by things like gravity and laws of physics. He can survive falls, car crashes, gunshot wounds etc. Nothing can stop him until he has achieved vengeance.

Craven starts to suspect that the company for whom his daughter worked was behind her death, a fact that becomes obvious when he goes there and sees that the place looks like it was designed by the same guy who built the Death Star. The creepy CEO played by Danny Huston makes the mistake of acting creepy so we know right off the bat that he was behind the whole thing. Oops, that was a spoiler. Well, it's a spoiler if you've never seen a movie before.

Like I said, it's not all bad. One thing that keeps the movie going is the introduction of an intelligence community mercenary named Jedburgh (Ray Winstone). He was supposed to stop or kill Craven yet ends up helping him for what turn out to be very logical reasons. There's also the climactic scene where Craven, using his UVM powers, walks into a heavily guarded area and takes the whole place out. Do the bad guys win? Yes and no. That's as far as I go, spoiler-wise.

Edge of Darkness stops short of being a satisfying film. It was too hard to follow which made it feel long. I was surprised when I saw less than two hours had passed as the end credits rolled. Also, and this is another spoiler so I made the text white (you can see it by mousing over it), Hamlet had more of its characters survive than this movie did. Wow, bet you didn't see that coming.

I understand that this was based on a well regarded British television series. Netflix didn't have it available for streaming, a fact that I assume means they hate me, so I wasn't able to compare the two versions. I'm guessing the BBC series is pretty much the same except for the stupid parts. If I ever see it, I'll let you know.

1 comment:

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