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EDGE OF DARKNESS


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I've been following this film since it was announced, and let me just get it out there: Its great to see Mel Gibson in front of the camera again...

 

melgibsonedgeofdarknessvi2.jpg

 

I got around to seeing The Singing Detective, and man, NOT FOR ME.

 

So I like to say that I had said my farewell to Mel in SIGNS, which felt like a completely wrong way to go out.

 

I understand the break, The Passion of The Christ and Apocalypto were worth EVERY year without Mel on the big screen.

 

Now, the magic is back.

 

Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale) is shooting this indirect remake of his 80s British crime miniseries, where Mel plays Detective Lieutenant Thomas Craven.

 

Thomas, adding spoiler tags to the below comment because in the original this is something that becomes "revealed", a red herring if you will. - TB

 

Apparently Craven's daughter has been murdered in connection with her work as an Activist.

 

More spoilers expanding on the last. Read at your own risk.

 

At first, Craven's daughter's murder is assumed connected with a case Craven is working on - That

he was the target and she got in the way. It's not until later that Craven discovers SHE was the actual target, and this is what leads him down the rabbit hole, where it takes a sharp turn from small murder mystery into a realm of epic thriller with international implications at the highest levels. - TB

 

Ray Winstone and Danny Huston play spooks sent out to follow up on Craven's personal investigation; originally Robert DeNiro was cast in Winstone's role but pulled out during pre-pro.

 

Campbell is a great director, and I think its safe to say it'll really be Campbell AND Gibson directing.

 

The last time that happened, Mel gave us the best crime noir film in decades with PAYBACK.

 

This sounds very exciting and since we know Mel isn't game for another played out Lethal Weapon sequel, its evident the man wants to make REAL and ORIGINAL films like those he directs.

 

-TL

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For 23 years I have been the only fan I KNOW of the original Edge Of Darkness (aside from Chuck Dixon), which I own on an old double video tape.

I have been singing this film's praises forever. The original stars Bob Peck (Slipstream, Jurassic Park), an actor I completely adore, and the reason for that is THIS film.

Same goes for Martin Campbell, before Goldeneye, before Mask Of Zorro, there was Edge Of Darkness.

 

I originally rented this around the same time Lethal Weapon came out on vid, weird symmetry. Then I bought it.

 

It was riveting. I don't want to give anything away. It starts out as a detective thriller but spirals down a rabbit hole of international intrigue to almost near scifi.

It's populated by shadowy characters with names like Godbolt and Jedbergh (Joe Don Baker is excellent). It was originally a 6-part BBC miniseries but I never saw it in that context, I saw it in a 307 minute complete context and it was spellbinding. A young (and rather chubby) Joanne Whalley-X Kilmer plays Craven's (Peck's) daughter, lots of other actors you recognize pop up too, like Blackadder's Tim McInnerny, also Hugh Fraser, and Ian McNeice.

 

There is a specific scene that still haunts me to this day, as Craven sits in his daughter's old bedroom listening to Willie Nelson's "Time Of The Preacher".

She's been murdered and her empty shell of a father is sitting there singing the lyrics,

"An' he cried like a baby. He screamed like a panther in the middle of the night. An' he saddled his pony. An he went for a ride."

It's fucking heartbreaking. And those lyrics become a subtext to Craven's character - A symbol of a father's rage at the loss of a child, and the anthem for his revenge.

"It was the time of the preacher in the year of 01. Now the lesson is over and the killin's begun.

It was the time of the preacher in the year of 01. An' just when you think it's all over, it's only begun". It cleverly foreshadows the essence of the plot.

 

I hope to GOD they keep that.

 

This is a great film and it has the ability to be a great remake with Mel there and Martin Campbell back at the helm.

I'm fucking JACKED.

 

And long live, nay, VIVA Bob Peck! - whom I pray gets a part in the new film.

 

- TB

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I thought Peck was pretty cool in Jurassic Park.

 

Quint meets The Crocodile Hunter.

 

Spielberg gave him great dialogue.

 

Hopefully he remained friends with Campbell all these years so he can get a part in this.

 

-TL

 

 

His most memorable line . . . "Clever girl."

 

Chomp!

 

- TB

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I actually was not at all interested in this remake when I heard about it. I thought why the hell would Mel Gibson want to remake a WWII movie about the Norwegian underground? WTF? I had not connected it to the TV mini series from the mid 80's :blink: doh! This sounds much. much better!

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  • 8 months later...
Campbell is a great director, and I think its safe to say it'll really be Campbell AND Gibson directing.

 

The last time that happened, Mel gave us the best crime noir film in decades with PAYBACK.

 

This sounds very exciting and since we know Mel isn't game for another played out Lethal Weapon sequel, its evident the man wants to make REAL and ORIGINAL films like those he directs.

 

-TL

 

Can't wait for this one. He's probably one of my favorite actors overall. Speaking of PAYBACK, has anyone had a chance to see the director's cut? I enjoyed it a lot. I can'y say I like the theatrical or director's cut more, they're both good in my book.

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Can't wait for this one. He's probably one of my favorite actors overall. Speaking of PAYBACK, has anyone had a chance to see the director's cut? I enjoyed it a lot. I can'y say I like the theatrical or director's cut more, they're both good in my book.

 

Only $7.50 at WM still.

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I got to see PAYBACK: STRAIGHT UP - THE DIRECTOR'S CUT at a special screening to promote the DVD release. Brian Helgeland was on hand for a Q & A that was moderated by James Ellroy!

 

It's good and well worth seeing. It's been a while, but there were several different scenes early on in the film and if I remember correctly an entirely different third act.

 

The Q & A was great. And actually, the screening was at the Arclight and the fire alarm went off and the movie shut down. When that happened, I said out loud, and fairly loud, Mel got to the projection booth! We all filed outside and the evening's screening were cancelled. I spotted Brian Helgeland and approached him. I dropped the Mel line on him and proceeded to get my own personal Q & A. A few other people realized who he was and joined us. Brian said that Mel was incredibly supportive of releasing the Director's Cut and in fact it was Mel calling the studio that made it all happen. I believe Brian emailed Mel about it and Mel replied right away with something like, "Sounds good. What do I have to do?"

 

Luckily, they rescheduled the screening for a few weeks later and we actually got to see it on the big screen and have the Ellroy/Helgeland Q & A.

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Has no one seen this film? Tim, really? Not even curious? I saw the test screening almost a year ago and went today to see the release version.

 

Sadly, they didn't fix the film. From what I remember, it's about the same.

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Has no one seen this film? Tim, really? Not even curious? I saw the test screening almost a year ago and went today to see the release version.

 

Sadly, they didn't fix the film. From what I remember, it's about the same.

 

I saw it last week, just been too busy to comment.

I'm likely biased a bit by the original mini series, not sure if I'm capable of being thoroughly objective because I love the story so much.

It's got to be a difficult thing to take 6 hours of story and encapsulate all of that into 117 minutes.

I thought Mel's performance was damn good though it'd be hard to top Bob Peck's tour de force performance in the original.

I thought it was interesting that they made Jedburgh British with the remake being set in the states since he's American in the British version.

Also hard to top Joe Don Baker's performance. The set-up wasn't as complete or crisp without the James Godbolt storyline, which I guess they felt they had to jettison since studios don't believe audiences want to sit in a theater for more than two hours. Well, all the gaps were already filled in for me since I've seen the original at least 5 times over the past 20+ years.

I guess that gave me licence to forgive a lot in terms of story and instead I focused on Gibson as he attempted to unravel the mystery.

The character was not nearly as nuanced as his British counterpart - we as an audience are missing the subtle shades which made RONALD Craven's former, and shadowy, intelligence past in Northern Ireland such a strong undercurrent of the original. 2010's THOMAS Craven is just a detective, a blue collar good guy who loves his daughter and misses the little girl she once was in happier times. Thomas Craven, like his counterpart is a widower, but while the original series fleshed out the wife's death from cancer and thereby added a dynamic layer to Craven, the remake never really addressed that at all.

 

The original is a landmark of television drama so it was going to be fairly impossible to beat regardless. I just went with it and tried to enjoy this for what it was.

I love Ray Winstone and he was frightening in his understated performance, but it's the exact polar opposite of what Darius Jedburgh was in the 1985 incarnation.

As I indicated, Baker's virtuoso performance as the truly larger-than-life maverick CIA agent was going to be tough to top.

The same is true for EVERYTHING about the original.

 

Incidentally - I mentioned above that it would be a shame to leave out the Willie Nelson song, Time Of The Preacher. Read the spoiler above if you really want to know why.

Well . . . They fucking dumped it. I was SO anticipating the possibility. When it didn't come it was a real letdown. Not even in the end credits. Booo!

 

Even so, I'd recommend the film as a decent adult thriller with some nice performances.

But for those that have NOT seen the original I urge you to netflix that fucker and give it a spin.

Then you'll miss Bob Peck as much as I do.

 

- TB

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I saw this last week. Thought it was decent, but nothing special. The performances by Mel and Ray Winstone were the best things about it (even if I did think the Jedburgh character was a little underused). The plot is fairly predictable and it does nothing that hasn’t been done before. I haven’t seen the original series, but from what I’ve heard I might check it out sometime.

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Did you know that Robert De Niro was originally Jedburgh in this remake? He quit or got fired early on and Ray Winstone replaced him. So he probably was American in the script and they just let Ray keep the accent when they recast.

 

There are some really absurd sequences in this movie. I kind of want to rant about them, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone.

 

I will say this, the "Final Destination" scene is absolutely awful and makes no sense. Suddenly Mel turns into Riggs from LETHAL WEAPON. It played like a parody to me. Can't believe it's in the movie.

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Didn't know about the DeNiro thing . . . Interesting.

I wonder what this adaptation could have been.

Not because DeNiro didn't survive the process but the film definitely felt uneven as well as truncated.

My guess is the obvious, studio interference.

We all know what Martin Campbell is capable of.

I kind of HAD to see it being such a big fan of the original.

Had they miscast this or hired a different director I'd have likely skipped it.

As it was, it seemed like all the right ingredients were in place.

For some reason my viewing/reaction was a lot more forgiving than it could/would have been.

Like I mentioned, I'd already biased myself towards accepting it though I'm well aware it could have been a much better film.

 

 

Again, I urge any of you to check out the original.

But before you do, please keep in mind this was a TV mini from the 80's.

It's as good as it gets for the time in terms of production value.

That doesn't change the fact that it is somewhat dated by today's standards.

Forgive that little issue and you'll totally get wrapped up in the compelling story and performances.

 

- TB

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