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Edge of Darkness


Stars: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic

Director: Martin Campbell

Although its plot is fairly routine, this is a relaxing, easy to watch (if not always to listen to), gleamingly well shot (by Phil Meheux) and pretty enjoyable thriller, just below the top grade of stuff like State of Play. And it marks a welcome return for Gibson to leading roles.

Up at Northmoor research corp, the boffins, notably big boffin boss Huston, have been naughty boys, manufacturing 'dirty' nuclear weapons for the US government for which Arab extremists will somehow take the blame.

Four people have tried to blow the whistle on these nefarious goings-on. Three of them are dead and the fourth (Novakovic), the daughter of Boston cop Gibson, is in mortal danger. When she visits her father, a vomiting sickness racks her and next minute she is shot dead on daddy's doorstep. Though thwarted at every turn by covert forces, Gibson. watched and mildly abetted by mysterious 'cleaner' Winstone, sets out for explanations and revenge.

If this seems like too much plot information, it's not the story that's important here, merely the mechanics of the action that takes place within it, and in the sometimes ingenious and precarious ways the dogged cop keeps his head above water as he homes in on his target.

Huston is a surprisingly weak villain, but Winstone gives one of his most effective performances and there's a neat little running gag about everything being illegal in Massachusetts. We may giggle a little to see a haggard Mel lurching towards the final showdown, but's good to have him back on screen in the milieu within which his growly persona works best.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Icon. Technicolor.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 26 Jan 2010