Mel Gibson resumes his acting carrer in a new thriller called "Edge of Darkness." Whatever his shortcomings as a director and a human being, Gibson has been a consistently fine actor ever since he made "Gallipoli" and "The Year of Living Dangerously" nearly 30 years ago. He's excellent again in "Edge of Darkness," but the film itself isn't as satisfying as it should be.
"Edge of Darkness" is a smart, well acted, very serious movie about a grieving detective trying to solve the murder of his daughter. But its sophisticated plot is so convoluted that I didn't always know what was going on. (Basically, the story revolves around a private research and development company secretly making nuclear weapons for a country outside the United States. The effort involves American officials as well, and Mel's daughter is murdered because she was in the process of gathering evidence for the authorities.)
Still, I appreciated the dark, stylish cinematography, the attempt to deal with corporate crime and political corruption, plus the well written dialogue. When he confronts a scheming Congressman, Mel's character says, "I think you're in a position, Senator…..where you had better decide whether you're hanging on the cross or banging in the nails."
What I didn't appreciate is the film's violence which is both graphic and gut wrenching.
If "Edge of Darkness" is worth seeing, it's for the rich characters and the fine actors who play them. The always reliable Danny Huston is a wonderfully insidious villain and Ray Winstone is superb as a tough minded government operative who may or may not do the right thing.
Still the plot of "Edge of Darkness" is so muddled and the tone so tense and foreboding that I can't enthusiastically recommend it.