Monday, October 17, 2011

Edged Out

My Lovefilm subscription delivered  another candidate for Bad Movie Bingo. Martin Campbell's big screen version of Edge of Darkness. To be honest I had forgotten this was on my list, I must have added it back when we covered the original BBC mini series from 1985 back in British Invaders 67 and 68. Martin Campbell directed that version as well.

OK, let's get the big issue out of the way first. Mel Gibson is, let's be charitable, a difficult human being with some unpleasant views. It feels uncomfortable to be supporting his career by even renting one of his films, but there is a long line of great art made by people who you wouldn't want to be in the same room as so let's put that to one side and look at the movie.

Gibson plays Tom Craven a Boston detective whose daughter is shot on his front door step and dies in his arms. Everyone assumes that the killer meant to shoot Gibson but his investigations lead him to discover the murky truth about her work, and then Ray Winstone shows up as a government spook to explain what's really happening. A bit like Joe Don Baker in the original Winstone has the louder and showier role although Gibson does get a lot more action scenes than Bob Peck had in the original, guess it's in his contract.

One of the things that was so good about the BBC original was Peck's portrayal of grief and I have to confess that Gibson does pretty well in that respect. They have kept the device of having him hear and see his dead daughter although he sees her as a child instead of the adult he has lost. These flashbacks or visions or whatever are quite moving, and his misery really comes across.

Overall this isn't really a bad movie, and it's a better translation of the original than I expected it to be. It doesn't have time for the slow build of the TV series so certain elements of the story have to be revealed faster, usually as a result of Gibson punching someone or pulling his gun. I came into expecting it to be a bad adaptation of a great BBC series and actually it wasn't all that terrible. I'd still suggest going back to the original but if you can cope with the idea of a Mel Gibson film this one is OK.

3 out of 5 Joe Bob stars for being neither fish not foul, not terribly bad bad or terribly good bad.

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