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Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Edge Of Darkness


Alright, I'll also use this time to make an announcement regarding my film reviews for the year of 2009/2010. In a week or two, I will be finishing up my reviews for this year round of films, for in truth, I am for once giving in to my physical exhaustion at watching too many films. I have been watching too many films which are what I call the spawn of the les enfants terrible of film criticism: bad and boring. Seeing so many films which are either awful or underwhelming really is starting to catch up on me, and I won't lie, I am going to be taking an indefinite hiatus from reviewing movies for at least a month because it is very tiring at times doing this. Force of habit I guess. Anyway, psychological digressions aside, we have on our hands here Edge Of Darkness, the new film starring Mel Gibson. Now, for those of you who don't know already and may be wondering where Mel Gibson went, well he has emerged from an indefinite hiatus. The last film he starred in was in 2002's Signs, and we all remember how long ago that was. Since then, has directed The Passion Of The Christ, one of the best films of the decade, and the action-adventure Apocalypto. Since his 2006 DUI however, Mel has been very quiet. He mentioned that he would only act in a movie if the script we truly extraordinary, and well, this is the film he chose. The film is also the first film that director Martin Campbell has made since Casino Royale, another one of the decades best films, so surely, with a combination like this, and Campbell directing an adaptation of a show which he himself made, this would be a great thriller. Well, let's wait and see. Here, Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a detective, whose daughter is murdered, and during the course of the film, goes on a quest for revenge against those who he believes to have murdered her, i.e Danny Huston's businessman Jack Bennett, assisted in part by the philosophically-minded Darius Jedburgh, played by Ray Winstone. Sounds like a revenge thriller? You better believe it. To start with what's good about it, Gibson is the best thing in the movie. Far from one-note, he gives an interesting and complex performance as Craven. The portrayal of this man's determination and funnel-vision in order to complete his mission is really well done. It is done with suitable malice, but more importantly it is not done without a human heart to the piece that helps us sympathise with Craven's plights. Also, although he is in many respects playing the villainous role that he often plays so well, Danny Huston is also really good as Bennett. Representing in many respects the typical, remorseless and morallessness of the corporate product, Huston really does this role quite well. Also, one thing that should be congratulated on the part of the film-makers is the fact that the film does not go absolutely bananas and over-the-top. We have seen a real tendency in thriller's of today to bring a story, a plot to the table, and decide that "Hey, the audience is bored, let's insert an explosion, a car chase, a gun battle et al." The Taking Of The Pelham 123 comes to mind as an example of this ludicrousosity appearing in what should be by all means a traditional thriller. With Edge Of Darkness, there is a distinct absence of this ridiculousness and deviations from form. This is a consistently paced thriller, with a decent, if traditional structure. This brings me to the problems about the film. Unfortunately, despite all of these good elements involved in the film-making process, we do not see any attempts to be groundbreaking or make a movie which really touches us on a deep, personal and human level. Whilst it is good that it is a traditional thriller which has a degree of consistency which gives the film a certain realism, the real problem with the film is that it is very unoriginal. The plot in itself is predictable and very nuts-and-bolts, with all the cliches of the genre sticking out like a bad hip. The films lack of a great story and plot also has an inconsistency with the performance of Gibson, who seems to see the film as it is in it's rawest form, and gives a better performance than is deserving of the film. As far as I am concerned, while the film is unoriginal and uninspiring, as a nuts-and-bolts thriller with more consistency than most today and a good performance from Mel Gibson, the film is still at a half-decent romp.

The Thin White Dude’s Prognosis – 5.8/10

The Thin White Dude’s Self-Diagnosis - Content

1 comment:

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