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EDGE OF DARKNESS ($36) marks a terrific return to form for an older, craggy faced Mel Gibson, who has spent all of his time in recent years behind the camera. Gibson delivers a spot on performance as the grieving father, who has to first unravel the politically charged conspiracy around his daughter’s murder, before he can dole out appropriately swift vigilante style justice. Director Martin Campbell does a terrific job of molding and pacing the material to keep the story moving at a steady clip; moving from gritty police procedural, to political thriller, to revenge action drama.

Adapted from the 1985 BBC television production of the same name, EDGE OF DARKNESS places Gibson in the role of Boston Police Homicide Detective Thomas Craven, who walks out his front door to witnesses a masked assailant commit the shotgun murder of his daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic). Immediately, the officers investigating the crime assume that Emma was the unintended victim of a botched hit on the homicide detective. However, as Craven digs into the crime on his own, he discovers that his daughter was the actual target of the crime… which was somehow related to her job with Northmoor, a government contractor charged with overseeing nuclear materials. As Craven continues digging, he encounters Darius Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), a "consultant" brought in to clean up the situation by the politicos wanting to keep the Northmoor connection under wraps. However, instead of discouraging Craven, Jedburgh has his own agenda, and sees the grieving police detective as a means of removing an uncontrollable variable from Northmoor equation. The cast of EDGE OF DARKNESS also features Danny Huston, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O. Sanders, Denis O'Hare, Damian Young, Caterina Scorsone, Frank Grillo, Wayne Duvall, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Gabrielle Popa.

Warner Home Video has made EDGE OF DARKNESS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. EDGE OF DARKNESS features a robust 1080p presentation, which makes the most of Phil Meheux’s simple, yet elegant, cinematography. The finer grain and light handling of modern film stocks capture impressive levels of detail that are faithfully rendered on Blu-ray. Fine details, such as textures and the lines in Mel Gibson’s now weathered face are readily apparent. Color reproduction is always quite solid, even if the levels of saturation shift around to help create distinct moods for individual scenes. Blacks are inky, while the whites are clean. Contrast is relatively smooth, although it does show signs of being manipulated to give a harder edge to the visuals in key scenes. The film elements from which EDGE OF DARKNESS has been mastered are virtually pristine. As I mentioned earlier, EDGE OF DARKNESS benefits from the finer grain of modern film stocks; nonetheless, that finer grain contributes to the organic quality of the presentation.

EDGE OF DARKNESS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design is deceptively effective; the subdued nature of the talky passages lull one into a false sense of security, at which point, the soundtrack is likely to kick audience members right between the eyes. The outlying channels are effectively implemented for more active sequences, as well as those that rely on atmospherics to create natural sonic environments. The lossless encode enhances the film’s music, as well as providing the sound effects with a convincing quality. The bass channel has excellent weight and provides all the necessary percussive force that the material requires. Dialogue is very cleanly rendered and the actors' voices maintain a natural timbre. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Featurettes include the following nine short Focus Point programs, which total approximately a half hours worth of material: Craven's War Of Attrition, Mel's Back, Director Martin Campbell, Making A Ghost Character Real, Boston As A Character, Adapting The Edge Of Darkness Miniseries, Revisiting The Edge Of Darkness Miniseries, Edge Of Your Seat and Scoring The Film. Some Deleted Scenes close out the standard extras. A DVD and Digital Copy of the film are also provided, with both being housed on the second disc of this set.

EDGE OF DARKNESS finds Mel Gibson back in front of the cameras and in fine form; delivering a surprisingly strong performance, as a grieving who has to unravel a political conspiracy before he can avenge his murdered daughter. The Blu-ray presentation is highly effective, even if this isn’t quite a demo title. Definitely recommended to Mel Gibson fans, or anyone who likes a solid revenge thriller.



Edge of Darkness [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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