Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: Edge of Darkness

Edge of Darkness

As I sat in the theater, Edge of Darkness unraveling itself in front of me, I couldn't help but be gripped with apprehension. I shifted in my seat, anxious, tense, totally involved. I had to know how this mystery would play out. The wait was almost unbearable, and the potential consequences severe.
I'm referring, of course, to the burned-out light bulb in the right corner of the ceiling. The theater was dark. Someone could have tripped.
Obviously, you must be aware of my general stance on this film, given both its rating, and that I spent the majority of the film looking at the ceiling, but allow me to break Edge of Darkness down a little further.
Mel Gibson stars as Thomas Craven, a simple man touchingly afflicted with horrific mental illness...Nope. I'll start again. Mel Gibson stars as Ridiculous Caricature McI'mFromBoston,YouCanTellBecauseofMyAccent...Smith. His relationship with his daughter might be described by some as loving, but this writer shall hereby refer to it as 'creepily infatuated to the point of incest.' When his daughter is poisoned (briefly), and then shot in the stomach (so the poison can take effect, I guess), Gibson launches into a Shakespearean tale of grief, revenge, and intrigue.
Or at least the film would like you to think it's Shakespearean. I hate how seriously Edge of Darkness takes itself. Some movies can get away with referring to themselves in hushed third-person, but not this one. Its attempts at drama are blocked at every corner by Gibson's thoroughly terrible performance. All levity aside, what the hell is with that accent? Or anything in the performance, for that matter? I'm not fond of Mel Gibson as a director, but it might be worth it to keep him behind the camera, so innocent people never have to suffer this kind of torture again. Watching Gibson's thirty-foot tall face mope across the screen is akin to waterboarding, in that it feels like drowning, and after ten seconds you're likely to beg for death. Gibson is joined in ridiculousness by the normally formidable Ray Winstone, whose shady, death-obsessed special agent is an exercise in stupidity, and Danny Huston, whose corporation leader might as well wear a "kick me, I'm the antagonist" sign on his back.
The script was penned by Peter Monaghan, whose most famous film is The Departed. Now, The Departed had a great script: tense, lean, and resonant. You can tell that Monaghan desperately wants to write another Departed, but, sadly, this movie ain't gonna cut it. The script supplies all the actors with endless amounts of poor dialogue, ridiculous observations, and supposedly-revealing platitudes. Fortune cookies contain far more insight than this movie.
Theoretically, Edge of Darkness is an action movie. What it lacks most, however, are action scenes. Mel Gibson gets to throw a punch or two, but never in any appealing sense. The film tries too hard to be a serious drama, and fails miserably at that. Tragically, it doesn't toss in enough action to distract the masses, and, as such, fails as an action film as well. In fact, Edge of Darkness fails at absolutely everything. Please, do me a favor, and never see this movie. It deserves to be hidden away where no one will ever, ever find it.

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