This Week at the Movies: Edge of Darkness

In the world of action movies, it is easy for one film to blur together with another. Characters display the same traits, and all plots seem to be built off another. Every now and then, an action film will try to give itself an intelligent twist or use real world issues to make the movie timely. Edge of Darkness, directed by Martin Campbell and written for the screen by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell, tries to be one of those films, but falls just short of being truly noteworthy. Edge of Darkness is a cycle of ups and downs, in terms of plot, action and just overall comprehension that at the end of the day simply bring the movie down as a whole.


The story follows detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson), a Boston police officer. On the night his daughter comes to visit him, she is brutally gunned down in front of their home. Craven is distraught, thinking that it was an attempt on his own life and his daughter was simply caught in the crossfire. However, as Craven goes deeper into the investigation, he becomes entangled with defense contractors, a nuclear facility, the C.I.A and a senator, as he begins to uncover the truth behind the reason for his daughter’s death. Now this sounds all well and good in a summary, but where the movie falters is in the delivery. Each element of the story is more intriguing than the next, but between the lack of introduction, explanation and relationship of the characters, it is very difficult to understand what exactly is going on. Conversations are nearly unintelligible as many of the actors mumble. However, if your main concern is action and not story, don’t be so quick to overlook the film. Edge of Darkness has its fair share of gruesome deaths, car crashes and Mel Gibson beating lesser individuals to a pulp. If there is something that keeps this movie entertaining, it is the action that highlights an incomprehensible story.


Technically speaking, the movie is quite well done. Slow pans and exquisite close-ups really capture the emotion behind the film. As Craven sits after the murder of his daughter, the camera moves in on the blank look on his face. It was chilling to say the least. Color also plays an important role. As Craven recollects the memories of his daughter and she appears in the form of hallucinations, colors brighten and the overall grayness of the film is lifted. The warmth and happiness is conveyed through this visual.


Edge of Darkness was not a bad film; it just had its faults. While difficult to understand, the images and action on screen keep the viewer captivated enough to remain in his or her seat and give the film a chance. If you’re going to the movies and looking for something different that isn’t too obscure, than Edge of Darkness is the movie for you. If you don’t feel like scratching your head at certain points, then you might want to steer clear.