Edge of Darkness

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Edge of Darkness
We may have moved from veiled Cold War to explicit global terror in the 25 years since the excellent, UK-set nuclear conspiracy thriller ‘Edge of Darkness’ first aired on the BBC, directed by Martin Campbell (‘Casino Royale’) and written by Troy Kennedy Martin. It’s also been some eight, traumatic post-9/11 years since Mel Gibson’s last thespian outing in M Night Shyamalan’s ‘Signs’. But time seems to have stood still in Campbell’s drab remake for the big screen. With its nuclear concerns and old-fashioned heroics, it feels like a period piece.

In condensing the original mini-series into a conventional, two-hour package, scriptwriters William Monahan and Andrew Bovell have sadly sacrificed some of the original’s cultural specificity and its slow-burn quality. Moreover, in relocating from northern England to the US’s Eastern Seaboard, they have jettisoned much of the chilling atmospherics. Craven, the widowed police officer whose engineer daughter (Bojana Novakovic) is gunned down on a home visit, is now one of Boston PD’s finest; and if it’s true that Gibson, in the role, recalls the earnest intensity and investigative zeal of Bob Peck’s original performance, he also brings a lot of unwanted ‘Lethal Weapon’-era manic mannerisms to the part.

It’s basically a ‘little guy against the system’ movie, literally so in many of Campbell’s framings – for instance, where he miniaturises Gibson’s now slightly wizened figure against the looming bulk of Danny Huston’s smarmy corporate bad guy. However, Ray Winstone, as a boozy high-level fixer in pointed contrast to Craven’s ginger-ale-drinking sobriety, does offer good value in what is otherwise a surprisingly low-wattage and anonymously directed thriller.

By: Wally Hammond

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Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Martin Campbell
Screenwriter: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell
Cast: Caterina Nardi
Mel Gibson
Danny Huston
Ray Winstone
Wallace Shawn
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