Saturday, 24 December 2011

Edge Of Darkness, dir. Martin Campbell, scr. William Monahan, Andrew Bovell, based on the television series by Troy Kennedy Martin, st. Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone

Shorn of the environmental mysticism that made the 1985 BBC Edge Of Darkness, on which this is based, so memorable, this remains a fairly standard political conspiracy revenge thriller which sees Gibson, heavy-lidded and greying, take out a whole host of ne'er-do-wells in the pursuit of his daughter's killers. It's business as usual as the intrigue goes all the way to the top, up to and including senators and various government officials. It might have been nice if some of the more fantastical elements had been retained (even in the original show, creator Troy Martin wanted the lead character to turn into a tree at the end), and maybe that kind of genre-blending would have resulted in something a shade more novel than what we get. Gibson's been doing this type of thing for many years now - and it shows. In his first lead part since Signs in 2002, it's hard not to see his Tom Craven, unsteady on his feet and radiated, as an embodiment of where this kind of role has taken him - faltering, weakened, unable to carry on. Which is a shame because although it may not be cool to like Gibson at the moment, I've always maintained he's a rather fine actor. Where he goes from here is anyone's guess, but I do hope he has one or two great performances left in him.