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Edge of Darkness (2010) Print E-mail
Friday, 14 May 2010
ImageWarner produces an adequate but not so thrilling thriller.  The film falls somewhere between "Taken" and "Ransom."  It is not a typical action film as it is more plot and character driven.  However, the film does suffer from some lengthy speeches, which may leave many viewers nodding off.

"Edge of Darkness" is directed by Martin Campbell, who is no stranger action and thrillers.  He has previously directed "Casino Royale," "Goldeneye" and "Mask of Zorro."  Campbell is also currently filming the "Green Lantern" comic adaptation.

The film is largely predictable, which is slightly forgiven due to the driving plot of the film.  However, the plot is also the weak point of the film, lagging in areas making it prime for naptime.  The saving grace to the film are the performances by Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone.  While Gibson can be a bit over the top at times he generally remains in character throughout.  Winstone is reserved, and difficult to understand, but he commands presence on the screen.

The film is based on the 1985 show with the same title.  Campbell also directed that 1985 miniseries.  In "Edge of Darkness," Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a Boston police detective.  His daughter, Emma, is home for a visit and it is clear that something is not kosher.  Emma is extremely sick leading us to striking murder that will catch you off guard.

With the death of his daughter, Craven keeps his cool and sets out to find his daughter's killer.  He alienates himself from the police department and conducts his own investigation.  The leads that he develops and follows are plausible for the most part.  What's more, is that each lead doesn't directly lead to the next sequence.  Timeline suspense thrillers are all too common.  But with "Edge of Darkness," the plot is not as self-unfolding.  It takes thought to get to the next step.

The film slows due to the amount of political talk and redundant sequences.  And that is what keeps this film from ranking higher among viewers.  Overall, this is a decent film that was better than I expected.
The video quality of this Blu-ray disc ranks a bit higher than the actual film quality.  It seems that studios have settled on a quality that we reviewers like to rank as "4 stars."  It just seems to be the most common video quality ranking.  So, yes, video quality can be better on Blu-ray and 4 is certainly not the new 5.  With "Edge of Darkness" the video quality remains strong in most aspects, but not perfect.  Black levels are stable with only minor crush at times.  The contrast level is consistent.  Skintones are stable and natural.  The film does not have much in the way of vibrant colors, which is consistent with the filmmakers' intentions.  The photography is treated in such a way as to support the emotions of the main character, generally somber.  Details and textures are satisfying throughout and softness in the background shots seems to be part of the production print.  Source noise is kept to a minimum, and film grain is light.  Edge enhancement hardly noticeable, if at all.  This is not a reference video track but it is certainly viewable without much complaint.

"Edge of Darkness" is not an action movie from beginning to end so the audio is quite restrained for the most part.  Dynamics are most notable as the film is primarily dialogue.  Dialogue is where this film suffers.  Gibson's voice is always intelligible.  However, Winstone's voice is constantly lost.  It is not lost amongst music and sound effects.  The tonality is lost, causing a difficult to understand voice.  You may need to boost the treble on your receiver to get more intelligibility.  Music is lost in the film.  You come away hardly remembering that music was part of the soundtrack.  Sound effects are good when they are present.  A car accident, several scuffles and some gun battles fill the soundscape.  The LFE channel is only noticeable in those more action-filled sequences.  The rear channels are subtle throughout, again except for the action sequences.  The rear channels contain some bleed and some discreet ambience, but just on the bare minimum of believability.  This is a fine DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track, but it lacks all the cherries that make it a terrific track.

The Blu-ray is fairly light on special features.  Focus Points are the bulk of the special features.  They offer small insights into the production process, Gibson and the director.  The other bonus feature is a small collection of deleted scenes.  The Blu-ray package also contains a separate disc that functions as a DVD copy and Digital Copy.

"Edge of Darkness" is not the greatest thriller, but it will likely please many audience members.  The video and qualities are above average but lack the ultimate polish to make them reference tracks.  I recommend this disc or at least giving it a rent.

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