British television dramas are proving to be fertile breeding ground for Hollywood execs as, following the success of Kevin Macdonald’s big screen adaptation of State of Play, Casino Royale director Martin Campbell breathes new life into the 1985 mini-series Edge of Darkness. And, with a solid performance from Mel Gibson at its heart, it proves to be a successful, if fairly straightforward, Americanised thriller.
Gibson is back to his best as Boston homicide detective Thomas Craven, who is thrilled to be welcoming his college student daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) home for the holidays. His happiness is short-lived, however, when Emma is gunned down on his doorstep; her death opening the door not just to mind-numbing grief, but also to a mystery that will have massive repercussions for Craven and beyond. For although it initially seems as though Craven was the intended target, he soon uncovers evidence that reveals Emma was at the centre of a huge corporate eco-coverup that reaches deep into the heart of the country’s administration and security. As Craven digs deeper he puts his own life in danger, but his determination to avenge his daughter sees him seek the truth at whatever cost.
Gibson hasn’t been seen in a lead role since his misjudged turn in M Night Shyamalan head-scratcher Signs back in 2002 and, following a detour which saw him behind the camera and in the public eye for all the wrong reasons, is well and truly back in business. His performance is intense and personal; he invests completely in the role of desperate father and his unstoppable search for justice drives the narrative forward through the mire of corporate greed and government conspiracies. And although, despite its grand ambitions – Edge of Darkness ultimately proves to be a fairly standard revenge thriller, Gibson lends it an emotional depth that proves gripping – particularly in his sequences with Ray Winstone’s perfectly played, shadowy fixer Jedburgh. Campbell, too, knows how to handle such a movie, and keeps the action moving apace, with some shock moments that really will have you on the edge of your seat. But it’s Gibson who shines here, and it’s fantastic to see him so back on form. 3 stars
There’s a great commentary from Campbell, plus nine featurettes on everything from a look at the original mini-series, profile of the director plus a profile of the Boston location. There’s also a handful of deleted scenes. 3 stars
Stars Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone
Director Martin Campbell
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Distributor Icon Home Entertainment
Released June 14