Mel Gibson is once again starring in a movie, something that he hasn’t done since 2002 (probably due to all the racism and drunk driving). I knew nothing about Edge of Darkness when I went to see it. However, simply due to Gibson’s presence in the film, I was expecting to come out enjoying it. I was wrong.
You’ve probably seen movies with Edge of Darkness’s story. As I was watching it, I realized that I’d already seen the same plot before in about twenty other movies. Basically, Thomas Craven (Gibson) is a cop investigating a murder, and he eventually realizes that what originally seemed like a normal case is actually a huge conspiracy involving an international corporation and the United States government. And like many of these other movies, everything eventually leads to Craven going on a bloodthirsty revenge-fueled rampage. There is no “Aha!” moment where we’re able to finally realize this was the work of the government, as we’re told almost immediately who the bad guys are. And there isn’t nearly as much tension as there should have been for a crime thriller/conspiracy movie, because the entire first half was too slow-paced to be interested in at all. There were several plot twists, but most of them could probably be predicted within the first few scenes. The story was extremely generic and predictable. In other words: Boring.
Another thing that the movie failed in was that none of the characters were particularly compelling. I found no reason to care whether they died or lived, or whether Gibson’s character succeeded in his mission or failed. In order for a character to be likable or compelling, they need to be believable. There wasn’t much of this movie that fit that description.
Yet despite this, the movie didn’t seem as though it was inherently bad. Deep down, it felt like it was a really good story that was just being given a really bad presentation. If Craven was a little less one-dimensional, maybe I would have cared about him and his daughter. If the movie didn’t alternate between boring interrogations and Taken-style shootouts, maybe I would’ve been more interested in the story. But unfortunately, it ended up this way, and we’re left with something that feels like a bunch of wasted potential.
Edge of Darkness is definitely not for those who are easily disturbed by gore. The movie is rated ‘R’ for “strong bloody violence and profanity.” Within the first ten minutes of the film, a girl is blasted at close range by a shotgun, almost tearing her in half. And that wasn’t even half as graphic as some of the later scenes. It seemed like a lot of it was only there for shock value. What really was disappointing about the violence, though, was that it both seemed to be taking itself too seriously and not seriously enough at the same time. In that regard, I guess you could say it fit right in with the rest of the film.