Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movie Review - Edge of Darkness

Edge of Darkness - **1/2

Starring:  Mel Gibson

Review:  Sometimes you walk away from a movie thinking that it really wasn't what you thought it was gonna be, in a bad way.  Sometimes that movie will make you search hard for redeeming qualities within, sometimes you find something, sometimes you don't.  This movie actually had a redeeming quality, but still left me angry on my way out.

The movie had a good premise, the idea of a father tortured by his daughters death and stopping at nothing to find her killer always presents an interesting dynamic to any story.  That is, of course, assuming it's done right.  This movie just didn't quite hit the mark.  The father-daughter dynamic was there but that seemed to be the sidenote as opposed to the actual story.  Instead the story involved the circumstances surrounding the daughters death, reaching to a national security level of importance.

This is all well and good I suppose but it just seemed to me that the movie could have made the audience care more.  It seemed to focus on the next twist to the plot as opposed the characters and how the plot actually effects them.  Movies with large corporation "bad guys" with far reaching conspiracies rarely work, but when they do (Michael Clayton) it is because those who pull the strings are still presented with some level of humanity.  This movie, presents nothing of the sort.  The puppet masters of the villain corporation just wear nice suits, talk cryptically ("I was never here") and meet in very nice places to vaguely discuss lofty issues.  That coupled with the unrealistic power of this corporation makes all the conspiracy theory stuff in the movie just seem hokey and takes away from the plot.

Now, I mentioned a redeeming quality, that quality is Mel Gibson's performance in this movie.  He captures the role of anguished father well.  This is one of better performance from Gibson in a while.  The role called for certain restraint and acting that took place behind the eyes (if you will) and relied on subtlety.  This is something that only an actor of Gibson's experience could accomplish.  However, his performance was not enough to save the movie from the plot that just got away from itself as it unraveled.

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