Year Released: 2010
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic
(R, 116 min.)
"Anger is a short madness." Horace
Back to the future. It’s as if Mel Gibson has distilled all the rebellious rage of his entire film career into one dark and potent brew, and then downed it in one gulp. The hard-hitting revenge tale does not disappoint. It is crisp, brutal, and at times, even tender.
Gibson plays Boston homicide cop Thomas Craven, who witnesses the brutal shotgun death of his 24-year-old daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) on his own front porch. Thinking at first that he was the intended victim, he must choke down some guilt with his grief.
But when he finds a loaded gun in his daughter’s belongings, Crane decides to dig deeper into Emma’s life, unveiling a fetid tangle of deceit and corruption she was about to expose.
The clues are parceled out one by one, from the sniveling boyfriend (Shawn Roberts) more interested in protecting his own skin than in any justice for Emma, to the unctuous CEO of Northmore, where she was employed as a nuclear engineer. Of course Jack Bennett, played by John Huston’s son Danny, is as slick as his oiled pompadour, his hands manicured as well as the green lawn outside his window. Even less alert audience members, however, will suspect both his hands and the grounds are pretty dirty. Can you say Silkwood or The China Syndrome?
Of course, the nuclear ploy is a bit long in the tooth by now, and sadly, so is Mel. His dazzling good looks are shrouded in a craggy face that is mute testimony to a rocky recent past, but the sallow cheeks, and the lined forehead actually work well for him here. As does his character -- driven, determined, oblivious to rules that will slow his vendetta.
Of course, we must contend with the barely concealed glee of effete critics who wonder whether the film-going public can ever forgive Mel his highly publicized drunken, bigoted rant some four years ago. Perhaps what they really cannot forgive him for is the brazen success of his The Passion of the Christ. We all should know that secular humanism and global warming are the only acceptable religions now.
One of the unexpected treasures of Gibson’s latest film – the first in some 8 years – is the role of Darius Jedburgh, played with cockney precision by Ray Winstone. He is a fixer, someone who shrouds the murky realities of entrenched corruption in an opaque veil almost as deftly as a magician. Yet he has his own sense of integrity, only taking the jobs he wishes to, and something about Thomas Crane causes him pause. Their conversation in Crane’s postage stamp of a yard is a bit hard to untangle, what with Gibson’s fairly credible wide Boston brogue and Jedburgh’s clipped Cockney almost devoid of consonants, but each recognizes something in the other he can respect.
Martin Campbell, who also directed the 25-year-old British mini-series on which this is based, keeps the same austere and relentless pace that characterized the rebirth of the James Bond franchise in Casino Royale. That reconception also dumped the bon mots we had come to expect from 007, just as Mel has lost the wild-eyed grin from his Mad Max or Lethal Weapon days.
The campy television Batman series fit the sixties, as the semi comic movies that followed meshed with the times, but the relaunch of Batman Begins reached into the darker visions that haunted us in the new millennium, as did the even more nihilistic The Dark Knight of 2008.
The Edge of Darkness taps into the paranoia and deep cynicism of our times, and perhaps the darker chambers of Gibson’s heart.
No, Detective Thomas Crane does not take time from his relentless pursuit of his daughter’s murderers to sit down to some luscious Boston Cream Pie.
But you can, either before or after you watch our film and take a vicarious trip to that city known for Oliver Wendell Holmes, Fenway Park, and the Curse of the Bambino.
Boston Cream Pie
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
- 1 cup cold milk
- 1 1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
- 1 round yellow cake layer (8 or 9 inch)
- 1 (1 ounce) square BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold milk
Beat pudding mix and 1 cup milk with whisk 2 min. Stir in COOL WHIP. Let stand 5 min. Meanwhile, cut cake horizontally into 2 layers with serrated knife.
Stack cake layers on serving plate, spreading pudding mixture between layers.
Microwave chocolate and butter on HIGH 1 min.; stir until chocolate is melted. Add sugar and 2 Tbsp. milk; mix well. Spread over cake. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Recipe Source: allrecipes.com