Returning to movies after a six year absence with a
vengeance, so to speak, Mel Gibson stars as a mad as hell
vigilante dad in the UK small to big screen adaptation,
Edge Of Darkness, coincidentally penned by 'The Departed'
screenwriter William Monahan. Though possibly less by chance
is Mel's bid to clean up his rowdy right wing, booze laced,
less than family man image offscreen, by doing a beyond
the call of duty Father Knows Best impression in a movie.
Not to mention his unfortunate last appearance on screen
prior to departing, as an anger management therapy patient
Gibson is, well, Craven in Edge Of Darkness, a glum
Irish Boston cop, widower and recovering alcoholic drowning
his sorrows in ginger ale placebos. When his MIT grad intern
scientist daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) is murdered,
the distraught Craven insists on taking charge of the case,
over precinct brass objections.
Nearly following in the footsteps of haunted screen
dad Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) in Creation, Gibson's
Craven is perpetually stalked by the ghost of his deceased
offspring, even as he gets into fanatical stalking of suspected
perps and victims alike. And always one step ahead of his
clueless squad back at headquarters, Craven uncovers to
his own amazement, simultaneous criminally minded, convoluted
scenarios touching on conspiratorial corporate defense contractors,
a nuclear facility roach motel where you can't check out,
covert dirty bombs, contaminated terrorists, radioactive
milk and locks of hair, slain whistleblowers, and one particularly
unscrupulous politician who just happens to be a Democrat.
Along with a kindly ailing neighborhood hitman played by
Ray Winstone, but who was originally supposed to be Robert
De Niro until he backed out over creative differences.
While Gibson goes all out to do his superhero cop thing
in Edge Of Darkness as conceived by director Martin Campbell
(Casino Royale), his weary demeanor while making moves on
villains in top fighting form, never quite makes it past
a spectator gut feeling that the aging celeb is a bit too
over the hill at fifty-four years old to pull off being