Edge of Darkness (2010) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Thriller
Warner Brothers || R - 117 minutes - $35.99 || May 11, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-05-09


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer(s): Troy Kennedy Martin (mini-series); William Monahan and Andrew Bovell (screenplay)
Cast: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic


Theatrical Release Date: January 29, 2010


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 9 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • BD-Live
  • DVD Copy
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

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** Please note, this review contains spoilers so readers beware. **

Thomas Craven (MEL GIBSON) is a cop’s cop but also is a proud father. When his daughter Emma (BOJANA NOVAKOVIC) returns home on a break from her “glorified internship” job at a secretive corporation called Northmoor. Early in her arrival, Craven senses something is wrong. Emma is puking like crazy and as he is about to rush her to the hospital, two masked men are waiting outside and blast her, killing her almost immediately (but not before a heartfelt last gasp). Who did this and why? Was is somebody from Craven’s job as a homicide detective or is something more sinister going on?

Soon Thomas goes down the proverbial rabbit hole after discovering his daughter was keeping a gun which in turn leads him to her boyfriend/co-worker that then leads to Northmoor and its CEO, Jack Bennett (DANNY HUSTON). In the mix is a United States Senator (DAMIAN YOUNG) and a clean-up man merely named Jedburgh (RAY WINSTONE) whose job it is to make problems go away. One of those “problems” is Craven who will stop at nothing to find how who killed his daughter. The two, Craven and Jedburgh, have meaningful discussions each wary of the other but having a certain amount of respect.

As the title implies, Craven’s journey takes him to places he might not like and certainly places that puts his own life and lives of others in jeopardy as those in power try to cover up a big conspiracy.

Edge of Darkness is a bit of a mixed bag for me when all was said and done. After a 7 year absence as an actor – 4 years since he produced/directed Apocalypto –, Mel Gibson marks his return to the big screen in incredible fashion. Gibson is a rare actor, probably along the lines of Denzel Washington in that even though the Thomas Craven character doesn’t have a whole lot of back story other than that he’s a veteran cop plus some throwaway lines that pointed to his lack of inclusion into his daughter’s life, he can still muster up sympathy and likeability instantaneously. Another comparison is how Liam Neeson made Taken the fantastic action/thriller it was, Gibson makes this drama/thriller better than it should’ve been despite those in front of and behind the camera.

Speaking of which, Edge was directed by capable action-man Martin Campbell known for his James Bond films GoldenEye and Casino Royale plus the upcoming Green Lantern project set for release in June 2011 as well as numerous others (including Mask of Zorro). In Edge of Darkness Campbell certainly delivers the pulse-pounding thrills even if the two big scenes are scare-you-out-of-your-mind ones; scenes that you best not be drinking something when they occur... If you’ve seen the movie, you know which one’s I’m talking about.

However, I never felt the plot itself connected itself in a satisfying way. Sure, the conspiratorial elements were placed well enough and you will go along with Craven’s investigation/revenge drive until the very end, but something about it didn’t sit right. Maybe to cut costs (or stay more true to the source material?) they didn’t delve deeper into the corporate/governmental conspiracy more than some dialogue. I’m a firm believer in the “seeing is believing” adage and think it could’ve taken the plot further.

That said, Edge of Darkness does offer the much-needed services of Gibson alongside a solid supporting cast that includes Ray Winstone (replacing Robert De Niro after the now infamous “creative differences” fiasco between he and Campbell), the underrated Danny Huston at his low-key sinisterly best and Serbian-born actress Bojana Novakovic who, despite a limited role, makes an immediate presence and father-daughter chemistry with Gibson.

Overall, the movie isn’t too bad but could’ve been so much better, but thanks to Mel Gibson’s charisma, it does make it a movie worthy of a rental at least. Personally, as thrilling as some of the scenes might be, I’m not sure how often I’ll revisit this particular title.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Focus Points (30:52; HD) are some featurettes looking at the various aspects of making Edge of Darkness. Together, they don’t offer that much info so it is a little disappointing. ** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES **

- “Mel’s Back” (4:00) taking a look at Gibson’s return to the big screen with comments from Gibson and his co-stars and crew.
- “Making a Ghost Character Real” (3:32) examines how the daughter is integrated into the film via voice-overs and visualizations.
- “Scoring the Edge of Darkness” (3:39) obviously looks at Howard Shore’s music score for the film.
- “Revisiting the Edge of Darkness Mini-Series” (2:32) is another self-explanatory featurette that shows how the British mini-series came to be, which Martin Campbell had directed.
- “Adapting the Edge of Darkness Mini-Series” (3:32) is about taking the series and turning it into a feature film.
- “Thomas Craven’s War of Attrition” (4:51) examines the various characters journeys with comments by the actors talking about their own character and others.
- “Boston as a Character” (2:57) gives a look at the location scouting, filming in the city and how it played its own role in the movie.
- “Director Profile: Martin Campbell” (3:21) gives insight into the director and his methods from the mouths of those who worked with him on the project.
- “Edge of Your Seat” (2:36) covers the mystery-thriller aspects of the film, uncovering the clues following the main character.

Deleted Scenes (5:23; HD) – There are a collection of throw-away scenes that don’t offer much insight or expansion on the story so keeping the film under two-hours, it was right to leave them off.

Last is a portal for some Warner BD-Live (** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE **) content as well as a standard definition DVD Copy and a Digital Copy (both on the same disc). The DC is a ** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE **.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

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Edge of Darkness is presented in its original 2.40 theatrical aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. The film looks good in HD, though I will say it’s not going to be a movie that will pop off the screen compared to other recent releases. Per the tone of the story, the movie already looks dark so it doesn’t quite have the detail level I’m used to seeing. That being said, I don’t have a beef with the transfer itself. Colors, as toned as they may be, look spot on and I noticed no flaws.

The DTS-HD Master Audio track meanwhile is standard and like the video, will not wow you though the two shocking moments and occasional gunfire do provide a little kick to an otherwise low-key track. Dialogue does sound crisp and clear while there was a discernable amount of ambient noise coming from the front and rear channels.



.::OVERALL::.

Edge of Darkness certainly has an edge to it in terms of the thrills and while the mystery aspect of the plot never quite materializes, the return and performance of Mel Gibson makes this at least a worthy venture. The Blu-ray itself unfortunately doesn’t have much going for it with about 36-minutes worth of features and the video/audio are both satisfactory but doesn’t have the wow factor in comparison with other HD releases.