Edge of  Darkness


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There are few stories in the world more often retold and more emotionally resonant—with the exception of love stories—than good old revenge stories; a decent everyman/women who is wronged by a higher order and seeks to set things right. They are always a great platform from which to root for the hero, to explore humanity, concepts of right and wrong, and even the meaning of our lives.

These stories, as often told as they are, are also very easy to mess up, to make ugly and exploitative, to make hollow and violent and simply become a vehicle to vicariously thrill at watching the good guy off the bad guy.

There have been some very impressive forays into this story in recent times: Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino and Michael Caine’s Harry Brown being two, and many not so good ones (which I’ll skip naming). When it was announced that Mel Gibson was stepping in front of the camera after an eight year hiatus to film such a story, directed by the master of Bond debuts Martin Campbell, hope sprang immediately.

What is essentially a remake of his mid-eighties miniseries, Edge of Darkness is Martin Campbell’s second go-around of exploring the tale of a cop who sees his daughter brutally murdered, and, in the ensuing investigation to find her killer, uncovers a deep well of bad secrets and dangerous men.

This is a very straight forward story, layered with modern topical seasoning and a heavy emphasis on the emotional connection of a father to his child. It is this emphasis that takes the film away from the violence presented to a more relatable and empathising place. This story has many facets and complexities interwoven into its narration, but ultimately its heart and focus remain about a father trying to do right by his daughter—even though she’s dead.

The pacing is brisk without sacrificing some introspective and affecting moments. The characters are archetypal but thanks to the performances of the actors not clichéd. Mel Gibson, now in the news for seemingly losing his marbles, has lost none of his gifts as an actor and quickly reminds us why he was the star he was.

The production value is there in the sets and the wide angles, but the film never loses sight of its focus on human beings instead of explosions. There are stunts, fights, and there is gunfire, but it all comes to bear on the plot and never seems gratuitous or showy.

Edge of Darkness is a well crafted, expertly delivered revenge thriller with sadly very little originality or surprises. Its star, in fact all its cast and its crew, makes this look like a better product than it probably would be in lesser hands. Nevertheless, the story is emotionally engaging, and it was a pleasure to see Mr. Gibson on the screen again in this very watchable film.

Hope was satisfied: this one is worth your time.

Component Grades
3 Stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 11, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy; BD-Live

On the right side of generous, with a Blu Ray, DVD, and Digital Copy provided in the one case. A fairly succinct making of featurette, with cast and crew gushing over Mel’s return, and the rather obvious assertion that this type of film can be made relevant with simple contemporary tweaking. The picture quality provides a crisp, layered presentation with natural colours edging on the side of cold, appropriately; sound is verbose and well scattered between the speakers. All special features are in HD, including Blu Ray and trailer blurbs.



  • None


  • Craven's War of Attrition
  • Mel's Back
  • Director Martin Campbell
  • Making a Ghost Character Real
  • Boston as a Character
  • Adapting the Edge of Darkness Miniseries
  • Edge of Your Seat
  • Scoring the Film

Deleted Scenes:

BD-Live bonuses

DVD/Digital Copy combo disc