Edge of Darkness

An Effective Re-Make, 7 February 2010

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

As an aficionado of the British TV Series I approached this with some trepidation. But as a feature film it works well, and is head and shoulders above standard Hollywood fare. At 117 minutes it is just over a third of the running time of the TV series, inevitably a dense twisting tale is dramatically simplified. The Americanisation of the story is crass, with lazy stereotypes inserted, but the fundamentals work well enough.

Director Martin Campbell worked on the original series, with subsequent credits for the likes of Goldeneye, Casino Royale, Mask of Zorro, Legend of Zorro and Vertical Limit. That experience provides some memorable set-pieces which define this film, as opposed to the series which was defined by the plot twists.

Mel Gibson stars as Police Officer, Thomas Craven who unravels the mystery of why his daughter was murdered as she visited his home. His performance is full of ambiguity. The role demands that the father uncovers the story by determination and skill, not by brute force, but Mel cannot resist disarming a man half his age with his bare hands, and kicking his way out of a toilet block to shake off a “tail.” And all this from a man who looks clearly past the retirement age for a Police Officer.

The heavily abridged narrative plot changes the ambiance of the original from taut and brooding ,to action packed and pacey, some key aspects of the original are devalued as a consequence. The leader of the mysterious “peoples” group, some of whose members have been killed in action, is reduced to a baffling minor role, and the establishment cover up is functional rather than compelling. Ray Winstone is superb as a shady Secret Service Mr Fixit.

Nonetheless the story still strikes a chord a quarter of a century on, Governments who cannot be trusted, and venal amoral multi-national corporations still abound. “Edge of Darkness” succeeds because despite all the drawbacks, you cannot keep a good story , well told, down.

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