A little while ago a story came out of Hollywood that an A-list actor and director was pulled over by the LAPD so heavily intoxicated that he’d have killed any small child that jumped out in front of his big, moving car.
The celebrity, who shall remain nameless, then proceeded to verbally insult the police with mysogynistic and anti-semitic remarks. But as Mel Gibson’s latest film, The Edge Of Darkness explains, conspiracies are everywhere. So that story that I just told you was probably all made up.
Like an erstwhile Dr. Sam Beckett, Mel Gibson is trying to put right what once went wrong by standing in front of the camera (for the first time since his arrest) and playing such a thoroughly likeable chap, that you can’t help but root for him. For chrissakes his daughter’s been murdered! Therefore Mel must be a nice guy. Well, that’s the theory.
Sadly, for Mel, his latest film is such a mess of Taken-esque revenge and Conspiracy Theory bullshit that the audience will be half asleep before they realise that Mel-the-actor is playing someone designed to make us forget his previous altercations and dubious rhetoric.
When his daughter is shotgunned to death on his porch (in a scene that is actually quite shocking) Mr. Gibson runs about dressed in a beige trenchcoat like an unlikeable Colombo trying to figure out why. This detecting is coupled with the occasional scene of an aged Jack Bauer-lite beating people up for information when talking seems to have run its course.
Ray Winstone pops up as a help/hinderence in a role that appears to come from another movie altogether. Spouting weird philosophy, smoking cigars and drinking red-wine on a park bench like a Cockney Deepthroat he’s the best thing in the film. Not that he helps the, at-times unfathomable, plot but he makes things slightly tolerable because, hey, It’s Ray Winstone.
Based on a BBC TV series of the mid-80’s, The Edge Of Darkness tries to cram in a series worth of plot into a less than two hours running time and fails miserably. One scene (SPOILER ALERT) towards the end of the movie has Mel kidnapped in his kitchen by the bad guys, only to escape a mere 10 seconds of film later, then return to said kitchen having done nothing for the story. A metaphor for the pointlessness of another bog standard revenge movie perhaps?
As the screenplay by Departed scribe William Monahan consistently tells us, “Everything in Massachusetts is illegal.” Except presumably making dull movies, which will only get you a slap on the wrist.