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Film / Edge of Darkness (2010)

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Craven: You had better decide if you're hanging on the cross, or banging on the nails.

Edge of Darkness is the Hollywood film adaptation of the BBC television series of the same name. It was directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale (2006), The Mask of Zorro), and stars Mel Gibson and Bojana Novakovic (Drag Me to Hell). The film was released by Warner Bros. in 2010 to mixed critical reception.

Widowed detective Thomas Craven (Gibson) lived only for his career with the Boston PD and his daughter, Emma (Novakovic). During an unexpected visit at Craven's home, Emma suddenly becomes violently ill at the dinner table... and, in a panic, urges her father to take her to the hospital, telling Craven that there was something important she needed to tell him as they prepared to leave. Before he could find out what that was, Emma is fatally shot in the chest by a masked assailant on Craven's front porch... a shot that the Boston Police believed was meant for Craven himself.

However, his daughter's strange behavior before her death gives Craven reason to doubt that assumption. And the deeper he digs into Emma's past and the secretive nature of her work, the more reason he has to believe that the assassin's bullet was, in fact, meant for her. Soon Craven finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy involving powerful corporations, ruthless killers, and some of the highest levels of the United States government. Unwilling to let his daughter's death be in vain, Craven vows to pursue the truth no matter the cost to his career, or even his own life.

Not to be confused with the 1943 World War II film, also titled Edge of Darkness.

Edge of Darkness contains examples of:

  • Can't Stop the Signal: Craven sends his daughter's confessional/whistleblowing video to the press.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Craven waking up after a dream of his daughter's murder.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The radioactive milk
  • Convenient Terminal Illness: It is revealed that Jedburgh has a terminal illness which probably explains why he kills the rest of the major villains and allows himself to be killed by the state trooper at the ending
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jack Bennett, the CEO of Northmoor.
  • Cowboy Cop: Take one By-the-Book Cop. Kill his only child. Frame him for murder. Give him terminal radiation poisoning. You know that old saying, "when someone has nothing to lose, they tend to quietly give up and leave you alone"? No, me neither.
  • Double Agent: Jedburgh, a British national and "consultant" for the CIA who serves to clean-up politically damaging messes. Throughout the film, it is hard to pin down just where his loyalties truly lie.
    Jedburgh: Now, you know better than anyone, cases like these are never solved. They're simply too complicated, too much hard work. There's a lot going on out there in this world, and you can just never connect A to B.
    Craven: How do you know that?
    Jedburgh: Because I'm usually the guy that stops you connecting A to B. It's What I Do.
  • Everyone Has Standards: His terminal illness causes Jedburgh to reevaluate his life's actions, to decide how he'll deal with the people that he ostensibly works for, and to see Craven's mission as righteous.
  • Fade to White: The movie ends with one of these.
  • The Film of the Series: While Campbell also directed the original television series, the film adaptation received some major changes both to make it more US-centric, and to give it more of a modern-day revenge thriller feel.
  • Fingore: Craven kills one mook by shooting him when he tries to hold him up. The bullet end up blasting off his finger and going through his eye.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Jedburgh is drinking a glass of wine in a park bench when Craven meets him.
  • Gratuitous Latin: At their first meeting, Jedburgh tells Craven the motto of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) - which Northmoor is involved in - "Scientia est Potentia", which means "Knowledge is power". In response, Craven tells Jedburgh, "Stile Sursum," or "Stand the fuck up." Jedburgh obeys.
  • Happier Home Movie: Craven watching his daughter as a child.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Interesting twist: Craven tells Jedburgh he didn't tell anyone, and because of that Hard to say..., the latter lets the former live.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Craven gains a measure of symbolic revenge when he forces Bennett, the man who ordered the radioactive thallium poisoning of both Craven and Emma, to drink a jar filled with thallium-tainted milk.
  • Hollywood New England: Gibson uses the traditional Boston accent and portrays the classic working class Bostonian roots, the Senator could probably trace his ancestory back to the Mayflower if you asked him.
  • I Have a Family: a couple of interesting variations;
    • Jedburgh asks this of a Punch-Clock Villain state trooper who catches him executing the senator. When he says he does, Jedburgh (who's dying anyway) lowers his gun and lets the guy shoot him.
    • Bill uses this as his excuse for betraying Craven to the bad guys. Craven replies "I don't."
  • Instant Death Bullet: In standard movie form, mooks tend to get these while major characters {except for Jedburgh) take slightly longer to die.
  • Karma Houdini: Bill Whitehouse, Craven's friend and partner, who sold him to Bennett.
  • The Last Dance: Jedburgh, Craven.
  • Mangst: Craven after the first day dealing with his daughter's murder turns all his potential angst into manly ass-kicking, murder investigating, conspiracy uncovering, prowess.
  • Newscaster Cameo: Lisa Hughes, a real anchor for the Boston CBS affiliate WBZ 4, appears early in the movie to report the murder.
  • Perfect Poison: Using radioactive thallium to kill both Cravens, as the thallium is tasteless, odorless and deadly after a few days. Furthermore, Emma worked with radioactive material so there's plausible deniability.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Two of them, one by Craven and the other by Jedburgh.
    Craven: "Deep down... know you deserve this."
    Senator: "I am a United States Senator."
    Jedburgh: "By what standard?" (Guns him down.)
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Emma's murder is the start of it. Repeated attempts to shut Craven up just make things worse.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: The weapon used to murder Craven's daughter.
  • Say My Name: Craven forces a mook to yell his name so he can confirm that he's the guy who killed his daughter.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Mel Gibson is about to shoot you.
  • Searching the Stalls: When Craven lost two henchman by hiding and escaping from a bathroom.
  • The Stoic: Craven, a former Vietnam vet who can't understand why others "make such a big deal" out of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, shows little outward signs of his emotions aside from a brief breakdown after Emma's death.
  • Storming the Castle: The climax.
  • Together in Death: The final scene has Craven's daughter come to collect him from the hospital, before a Fade to White.