Let me get this premise straight. A man’s daughter is killed and he uses his talents to track down, and bring justice to those who took her away from him. Didn’t I see this movie last year? Do film audiences today need another hot shot foreign director telling us how we would get revenge if others were to harm our daughters? The Edge of Darkness says we do.
Martin Campbell (director of Casino Royale) takes us on a journey through a mysterious conspiracy that’s roots lie deep in the bond between politics and corporate affairs. Detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is standing next to his daughter as she is gunned down in a fashion that is made to look as though he was meant to be the target. When Craven investigates he turns up a failed plot to expose a corporation who will commit any sin to keep its secrets. Without diving too deep into the surreptitious plot and spoiling the motion picture, when Craven unravels the mystery of his daughter’s death he is forced to make sure those who have committed this devious crime have paid for their transgressions. Careful to only harm those involved he has to limit the collateral damage to only those involved.
Craven is a man whom we can identify with, he’s strong in his principles, caring, and very set in his ways. Even with the death of his daughter he doesn’t stray too far from his core, despite the need to work outside of his legal parameters.
Last year Taken had the comparable concept of a specially trained man seeking revenge for the harm done to his daughter. When you strip away the slick action and broody performances, you are left with a gripping film about characters who choose to do the right thing but have run out of lawful options. Their need to cross this boundary into darkness to ensure that the rightful action is taken is one of the elements that the plot successfully plays out.
This film was originally produced as a British Broadcasting Company (B.B.C.) miniseries broadcast in 1985. You can tell the B.B.C. was involved with this American production. Although its roots lie in foreign soil this is still a very American story involving gun fights, car chases and crooked corporate men, but it also bears the English fondness of detective stories. The story may lack the originality to win awards but its execution is refreshing in a time when weak plots are usually covered up with A list casting, drawn out action sequences, and over anxious musical scores.
Now that Park City has emptied out and we have gorged ourselves on Sundance’s various independent films. It’s time to remember that during the winter we like to bundle up and escape through popcorn flicks like this one. Catch it in the theaters while it’s still fresh.