For anyone wondering what the political landscape will look like now that the Supreme Court has overturned the ban on corporate spending in campaigns, "Edge of Darkness" is a worst-case scenario, illustrating all that can go wrong when greed and politics collide.
As Boston Police Detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) investigates the death of his daughter, the film’s mystery unravels from the opening scene when three bodies float up in the dark of night in an anonymous body of water. We then meet Craven, a devoted father who’s on his way to South Station in Boston to pick up his daughter Emma. When she arrives, Craven can sense that something is amiss. Emma’s worn out by her work at Northmoor, a prestigious research firm in Western Massachusetts that does lots of top-secret work. But she’s also quite sick, and after developing a nosebleed and vomiting on the kitchen table, she admits that there’s something she needs to tell her dad. However, she never gets the chance: as the pair head out the door to a doctor, a masked man yells "Craven!" once and then blows Emma away.
Though police think that the elder Craven was the intended target, the detective has a hunch that someone set out to kill his daughter. His suspicions are confirmed when he finds a gun among her personal effects and discovers a lock of hair he cut from her body is radioactive. From there, viewers are taken on a fast and scenic journey that stretches from the streets of Back Bay to the shores of the Connecticut River as Craven slowly unravels the web of corruption that led to his daughter’s death.
Starring: Mel Gibson
Gibson’s first lead role since "Signs" in 2002, "Edge of Darkness" is largely seen as the actor’s attempt to reestablish himself as the King of Rage. Here we see an older Gibson, grayer and a bit more subdued. But his role as a bereaved father racked with guilt and grief makes him a sympathetic character — something Gibson desperately needs. And when he faces an oncoming car and fires away, quipping lines like "You had better decide whether you’re hangin’ on the cross or bangin’ in the nails," we catch a glimpse of the hero we came to love in the roles of Mad Max and Lethal Weapon.
A remake of director Martin Campbell’s 1985 BBC miniseries of the same name, "Edge of Darkness" is refreshing in that it doesn’t fall into most of the stereotypes we’ve come to expect from Hollywood portrayals of Boston. We’re used to examinations of the city’s seedy underworld, but the machine here is Massachusetts’ hot technology sector- the bad guys are white collar power players. Even Craven breaks stereotypes- he’s something of a loner in a city of cop’s cops, speaks Latin and lives in Roslindale (thank God, not Southie!). The accents are predictably bad (Gibson’s is mediocre at best), but writers William Monahan (who also wrote the Hub thriller "The Departed") and Andrew Bovell have mastered the Boston art of sarcasm and even get a few laughs in between high-speed chases and flying bullets.
"Edge of Darkness" isn’t philosophical or deep enough to tug at the heartstrings of viewers, but its adrenaline pumping, non-stop action keeps your attention for the nearly two-hour duration of the film. And you can’t help but root for Craven as he avenges his daughter’s death, one bullet at a time. After all, what more have we come to expect from Mad Max?