Mel Gibson has had a hard time of it in recent years. His box office draw began to wane, along with other stars of his generation. Then came the bad publicity, the result of a drunken mistake. Aside from his limited success as a director, Gibson was fading from movie-going consciousness.
This year Gibson is back, with several movies in the pipeline, beginning with Edge of Darkness. Gibson stars as Thomas Craven. Craven is a homicide detective. When his daughter is shot and dies in his arms, he initially believes he is the target. It becomes clear however that someone wanted his daughter dead. Can it really be true that his little girl posed a threat to national security? He goes out in search of answers, seeking vengeance, and won’t let anyone get in his way. This leads him to the door of a large corporation, and to the attention of an agent tasked with cleaning up loose ends.
Ray Winstone stars as CIA agent Matt Jedburgh. Jedburgh is attempting to cover up the murder, and inevitably ends up clashing with Craven. Veteran actor Ray Winstone is a British institution, and is currently high in demand. Following Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, he currently appears in two British dramas. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, the biopic of Ian Drury, and 44 Inch Chest. Upcoming projects include a Ben Hur TV series and the part of Julius Caesar in 2011′s Cleo.
Craven’s daughter is played by Bojana Novakovic. Serbian actress Novakovic is best known for her part in Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell last year. Rounding out the cast are Danny Huston and Shawn Roberts. Huston’s recent films have included the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine and 30 Days of Night. Roberts appeared last year in the awful I Love You, Beth Cooper.
Edge of Darkness is a remake of a miniseries of the same name which was set in Scotland. Made in 1985, it followed Ronald Craven’s investigation into the murder of his daughter, and was aired over six episodes. The mini-series was directed by Martin Campbell, who began developing this remake a couple of years ago, and is again the director.
New Zealander Campbell is probably best known for his work with two of the best films in the Bond franchise, Golden Eye and Casino Royale. Casino Royale was particularly well received as a revitalisation of the series. His stellar work in the espionage/action field bodes well for Edge of Darkness. Other credits include the less highly regarded Vertical Limit and The Legend of Zorro.
The screenplay was written by Andrew Bovell and William Monahan. Monahan is a former editor of Spy magazine. He came to Edge of Darkness having completed the screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s excellent The Departed. He was also responsible for Body of Lies, so he has a good recent writing history. Bovell has won awards for screenplays in his native Australia, and now attempts to find Hollywood success.
Gibson is best known for his action roles, and the storyline has similar elements to Gibson’s fantastic Payback. You can see why he has chosen this role as his first lead in 8 years. With a solid action director, and hopefully a good script, the Australian could have a hit with his first movie back.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see if one of the biggest stars of the eighties and nineties can still draw an audience, particularly during the traditional January dumping period. The lack of heavy competition at the box office could well give Edge of Darkness a helping hand. If he can re-establish himself in the action genre, we can look forward to many more great Gibson roles.
You can find the domestic and international trailers here and here, a TV spot here, posters here and here, and some images here. We hope to have a review sometime next week.
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