Edge of Darkness: Gibson Stretches as a Man With a Grudge

"Did you shoot my daughtah?" is the question posed, in flat-voweled Bostonian, in the trailer for Edge. And Mel Gibson, much-bereaved and much-vengeful, sets out to settle another score. Gibson is Thomas Craven: veteran, homicide detective, lonesome widower. His postgrad daughter is visiting home when somebody fires a gun in front of his house. Craven, left lonelier, wants to find out who. As in the film's predecessor—a Yorkshire-set 1985 BBC2 serial, with Bob Peck as Craven—the investigation of what's supposedly an open-and-shut botched payback killing by an old collar opens into something much bigger, revealing a sweaty commingling of private and public sectors. Director Martin Campbell, most famous for James Bond relaunches, is revisiting old material—as a hot-handed UK TV director, he shot the original six-part, six-hour cult-classic miniseries from a Troy Kennedy Martin script. For the film, mysteries unspool more quickly, while peripheral characters and "color" scenes without expository purpose have disappeared. What's left is propulsive and streamlined, with Craven more single-mindedly focused on finding and damning the guilty. This Edge is a vigilante movie. Which isn't to say it's simply a downgrade from Anglo sophistication to Hollywood slam-bang. Given the film's focus on bereavement—it is literally haunted by the dead—bodies drop with actual weight here. And the culmination is that rare shootout that can truly be called cathartic.

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