‘Edge of Darkness’ – a father’s vengeance on Paramount+

Craven (Mel Gibson) is a widowed Boston homicide detective turned vengeful father when his only child (Bojana Novakovic), a young woman and a committed activist, is murdered in front of eyes. At first driven by guilt, convinced she was mistakenly hit in an attempt on his own life, it morphs into rage when he finds that she was targeted to hush up a criminal conspiracy. It all leads to the oily CEO of a nuclear plant (Danny Huston) and a conspiracy involving the American government.

Edge of Darkness (2010) is another American movie thriller adapted from an acclaimed British TV miniseries, this one a 1985 production directed by a young director named Martin Campbell. He went on to helm a couple of James Bond movies and The Mask of Zorro before returning to the scene of the crime and bringing it to the big screen 25 years later.

The original story was set in the tensions of the Cold War before the iron curtain opened up. The geopolitical reverberations of nuclear technology and materials in 1985 had much greater resonance than this 21st century story of corporate intrigue, which feels more like a narrative contrivance than a meaningful story engine. But William Monahan’s script also brings a new sensibility that recalls contemporary American crime fiction as much as British conspiracy thriller and Campbell gives this take momentum and menace.

Ray Winstone costars as a veteran agent of unknown agency who lends invisible support to Craven. His performance is perfect, cagey yet helpful, and his scenes with Gibson are the most interesting in the film. Otherwise it is at its best as a piece of blunt force drama driven by the fury of a father who has nothing left to lose.

Rated R

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Edge of Darkness [Blu-ray]
Edge of Darkness [DVD]

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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