Edge of darkness - both dark and edgy (IANS Movie Review)
"There`s a point where anyone can become an activist. You see something so wrong, you have to act. Even if it means the end of you," says a character in `Edge of Darkness`. How far would you indeed go to right the wrongs around you?
Yet, detective Thomas Craven (Gibson) is no activist. He is a police officer who believes in being good and doing as much good as he can in his own power. However, the murder of his daughter (Novakovic) pushes him to the edge. He simply wants to know the truth. But being a simple man, is he ready for the truth yet? That too a truth that involves political intrigue, governmental cover-ups, and national security?
But then a man who has nothing to lose is a dangerous man. And even though everyone he talks to ends up dead or attacked, he doggedly works to uncover the truth and gets help from a strange, witty and surreal character Jedburgh (Winstone), who has been sent to assassinate him, but ends up helping him instead.
It is hard for people to imagine today what the paranoia surrounding a nuclear washout was on the minds of people during the Cold War. But back then, it was perceived as a real threat. It was these ideas and the secrecy of the British government over it that inspired Troy Kennedy Martin to start penning a TV series for BBC way back in the 1980s without really hoping it would be made. But it was made into one of the most critically acclaimed and popular series of all times.
Directed by Martin Campbell, it proved to be his trump card, years later paving his way to become a successful director of action film, especially bond movies. Martin Campbell returns with the story, this time in a film and does a commendable job of it.
The edginess, wit and sarcasm of the series are maintained, and so are the elements of surrealism.
Mel Gibson returns to his angry avatar that made him famous with films like `Mad Max` and `Payback`. He shows he has not lost the edge, despite his age.
For a political film though, the only problem with `Edge of Darkness` is its failure to take the leap of political intrigue. The conspiracy in today`s world is of giant corporations and governments that act as stooges to them. It is way too bigger for the level of senators as depicted in the movie. It involves the office of the presidents and rulers of the nations. Taking the politics of the film and conspiracy to that level, would perhaps have made more sense.
Despite these issues, the film is an edge-of-the-seat thriller, with its quite moments of introspection and surrealism and sudden bursts of actions that audience`s demand of thrillers.
In simply trying to stay true to the memory of his daughter, Craven becomes an activist hero. Perhaps you too would become one if you care enough to look a little deeper at the world around you and all that is wrong with it. And perhaps unlike Craven, you`d have the sense to do it before your family is threatened. The future of a good world depends on it.