Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Have you ever been stuck with a car that just won't start? You keep revving it up and it feels like it's about to start but then it dies again. So you start it again and it starts revving up again and then it dies again. Suddenly on the very last turn of the key the engine turns over and you forgot you were in drive with the gas down so you rocket forward and do heavy and unnecessary damage.

That little scenario is exactly what it's like to try and watch the Mel Gibson pot boiler Edge Of Darkness. Part revenge film, part political thriller and part high minded speech on nuclear weapons Edge Of Darkness has many parts that add up to very little.

From the opening frame you're tricked into thinking the movie is revving up for something good. Gibson plays a Boston cop (whose name I kept forgetting during the movie) who loves his "little girl" and when she gets mowed down he snaps a cork trying to bring down those who were behind it. In the first ten minutes we see his daughter vomit horribly and the revving starts but then nothing happens. We get a batch of shots featuring Gibson looking hard and driving around.

From there on the film will get started and then stall, hit you with something interesting and then leave you with more long, boring scenes of nothing. Then, without warning, the last twenty five minutes come and the movie not only starts but hits the gas and pretty much destroys anything the film might have amounted to by trying to tie up the numerous loose ends in a bow with lots of punch. At no point does this movie actually click together into something comprehensive.

Outside of my rather clever car analogy Edge Of Darkness suffers from plot strings that go nowhere, relationships that are started only to get from plot point to plot point but serving no real purpose. For instance there is a love interest for Gibson's daughter who is brought in, does nothing, and then is out of the film just to set up something else. Edge Of Darkness brings in new people at the drop of a hat and they usually serve no purpose other than the writer needed them to be there.

Another big problem is that the whole finger wagging big-business-is-bad thing allows director Martin Campbell to not only stretch believability but also bring in more characters. The plot, which starts out within reason, quickly devolves into something so over the top that it seems more like a James Bond plot than a thriller. As for the characters Campbell wants to take a shot at everybody we hate so there's a corporate asshole, a slimy senator, some "Government Guys" who are cold and say mean things, two hit men and even a "twist" involving Gibson's partner that I promise will make you laugh out loud.

Besides a gluttony of characters, a convoluted plot, too many loose ends, no pacing and an alarmingly low amount of cohesion, Edge Of Darkness also brings in a hit man character who just bops along making speeches and being cryptic for no reason. Then, as if this would make it okay, Campbell tries to make him the hero of the piece though he does it in a fashion that would even make Michael Bay say "Guys that's too much". Originally this part was supposed to be played by Robert DeNiro until he smartly backed out.

Personally I hated the last three minutes the most because it plays out like the ending of a bad episode of Cold Case. Others I've read and spoken with have said "Well at least Gibson was good" and I am clueless as to what they're talking about. Forgetting his crappy Boston accent Gibson phones this performance in from a cheap cellphone while sitting in a lead room built at the bottom of a gorge. He has no emotions other than anger and even that seems fake. Watching Gibson in this movie you'd swear that he hates acting.

Edge Of Darkness has no real idea what it wants to be or what point it's trying to prove. That fractured feeling never escapes the movie and it's made worse by the fact that film is tedious in most parts. It never gets going, it never finds a groove and when it finally does spring to life it's a giant mess that tries to do too much too fast and fails. Edge Of Darkness proves once again that all the top notch talent in the world doesn't mean you'll end up with a good movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment