The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Huston, Ray Winstone, Bojana Novakovic, Denis O'Hare, Jay O. Sanders
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Music by: Howard Shore
Written by: William Monahan & Andrew Bovell - Based on the Original TV Series written by TroyKennedy Martin
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 11, 2010
"Some secrets take us to the edge.."
The bullet that killed his daughter was meant for Boston cop Thomas Craven. That's what police brass and Craven himself think, but that's not what the investigation finds. Clue after clue and witness after witness, the search leads him into a shadowy realm where money and political intrigue intersect. If Craven wasn't a target before, he - and anyone linked to his inquiry - now is.
Edge of darkness is a character driven revenge/mystery thriller that doesn't conceptually break new ground but it does play perfectly to star Mel Gibson's strengths and offers fans the opportunity to become reacquainted with him playing a character that has a familiar feel. Based on the 1985 TV mini-series of the same name which also happens to have been directed by Martin Campbell this story focuses on Boston PD Detective Thomas Craven. Craven is a typical everyman among respected cops and appears to be the type that put the job ahead of family which has cost him. He lives alone and has an estranged relationship with his daughter Emma. After a protracted period away she has called and is coming home for a visit. Unfortunately their reunion is cut short when Emma is killed by a shotgun blast as she and Tom exit the front door of their house in Boston. Initially it appears as though Tom was the intended target however once he begins to investigate it becomes clear that Emma was not only the target but that there is something larger and apparently more sinister behind her death. Devastated, Tom vows to uncover the truth by any means necessary. He discovers that Emma's employment at Northmoor, a nuclear research facility, is somehow linked to her death. His steadfast digging uncovers what appears to be a politically driven conspiracy with connections well above his pay grade. As the layers are slowly peeled back the level of danger escalates leaving Tom little choice but to directly confront he believes are responsible. With cover up as a motive Tom becomes a target, the problem is that in this case the bad guys have underestimated the resolve of a father's determination.
It is great to see Mel Gibson back in front of the camera after a lengthy absence. Regardless of whether I approve of his conduct out side of work I do enjoy his films. This is a likeable film mostly because of his performance. The premise is one that we have all seen which is fine but I found that there were just a few too many moments in the story that expediently work out for Tom while leaving the bad guys appearing like incompetent cardboard cutouts without a clue one minute but clever and a step ahead the next. The underdevelopment of the stealthy and mysterious Jedburgh (Winstone), a "consultant" tasked to prevent Craven from discovering Emma's information or kill him was a sticking point as well. Little is explained about his involvement or what he does or doesn't do and why. We are left to surmise his reasoning which quite frankly made little sense to me. Pacing could have been a little smoother but I never found myself bored or checking the time. On a positive note there is ample mystery, intrigue, and suspense and although there isn't much in the way of action there are a few encounters that raise the level of adrenaline. The average storyline coupled with the strong performance of Mel Gibson elevate this to an above average film that while not completely satisfying does make for a decent watch.
The rating is for strong bloody violence and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Edge of darkness comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.
This is a solid high definition presentation that features crisp high definition detail and resolute imagery that on occasion borders on three dimensionality. Close up camera shots of the cast can be exquisite as the fine minutia and subtle lines of their faces are obvious. The weave pattern in clothing and the texture of surfaces within the frame are clearly discernible. There are a handful of instances where sharpness wavers but duration is brief and more than likely attributable to the photography. Colors are natural in appearance without over saturation or blooming. Fleshtones appear naturally differentiated and lifelike in depiction. Blacks are dense in appearance with excellent dynamic range and noticeable gradational stages in low lighting. Contrast is strong but not overpowering which provides plenty of pop to colors and whites which yields a dynamic yet pleasing picture. The end result is a great looking high definition video presentation.
The audio presentation is on par with the video and sounds full bodied, articulated, and occasionally authoritative. Lossless sound provides the opportunity to thoroughly appreciate the increased dynamic potential inherent in digital movie soundtracks. Such is the case with this DTS-HD Master Audio mix. This is primarily a dialogue driven film that makes limited use of the surround platform but when it does the result is excellent. I experienced crystal clear sound that is rich in sonic detail and dynamic potential. Excellent tonal balance enables pans across the left, center and right channels to appear seamless. Bass reproduction is clean, taut and when called upon hard hitting. There is a brief but terrific scene in chapter 17 that is sure to get your attention. Gunfire is reproduced with dynamic impact and resonating clarity. My only complaint is that there were times when I had trouble with dialogue intelligibility with the worst offender being Ray Winstone. Between his accent and marble mouthed muttering I found on more than one occasion I had to go back, increase volume and replay in order to discern what it was he was saying. It wasn't only him as it occurred in a few instances involving Gibson as well. I found it both distracting and annoying but luckily it didn't prevail. Otherwise I was very happy with this audio presentation and thought that it sounded great.
- (HD)Focus points (totaling 31 minutes) :
- Mels back
- Making a ghost character real
- Scoring The Edge of darkness
- The revisiting The Edge of Darkness mini-series
- Adapting The Edge of darkness mini-series
- Thomas Cravens war of attrition
- Boston as a character
- Director profile: Martin Campbell
- (HD) 4 Deleted/alternate scenes
- BD-Live enabled
- Bonus Disc: Digital Copy/DVD version of The edge of Darkness
Edge of darkness is a film adaptation of the 1985 BBC TV mini-series of the same name which is directed by Martin Campbell who incidentally also directed the original TV production. It is an emotionally charged and character driven thriller that isn't perfectly executed but stimulates with enough mystery, intrigue and suspense to keep things interesting. Add to that the return of Mel Gibson playing a character that fans can easily relate to as it plays perfectly to his strengths and the result is a fairly entertaining film that is worth checking out. Warner brings it to Blu-ray Disc featuring strong audio/video performance and a compliment of bonus supplements that offer a limited but pertinent look behind the scenes at the production, and source material. If you're a fan pick this is worth picking up, otherwise throw it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
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