Edge of Darkness (15)

IT S a long time since Mel Gibson was on our cinema screens, but he s back, and in terrific form, in tense, brooding political thriller, EDGE OF DARKNESS. Based on the BAFTA Award-winning BBC mini-series of the same name, it also stars the ubiquitous Ray

IT'S a long time since Mel Gibson was on our cinema screens, but he's back, and in terrific form, in tense, brooding political thriller, EDGE OF DARKNESS (15).

Based on the BAFTA Award-winning BBC mini-series of the same name, it also stars the ubiquitous Ray Winstone - who can also be seen in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll and 44 Inch Chest in cinemas at the moment.

Thomas Craven (Gibson) is a veteran homicide detective for the Boston Police Department and a single father.

When his only child, 24-year-old Emma, is murdered on the steps of his home, everyone assumes that he was the target.


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But he soon suspects otherwise, and embarks on a mission to find out about his daughter's secret life and her killing.

His investigation leads him into a dangerous looking-glass world of corporate cover-ups, government collusion and murder - and to shady operative Darius Jedburgh (Winstone) who has been sent in to clean up the evidence.

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The paranoia about nuclear weapons and radiation is perhaps more akin to the 1980s of the original TV series than today, but this is a taut, emotional adult thriller, with bursts of sudden violence which will have you jumping out of your seat.

Craven's solitary search for answers about his daughter's death transforms into an odyssey of emotional discovery and redemption.

Much of the film is shot at night and in the rain, adding to the noir-ish feel and Gibson's crumpled raincoat and thinning pate are as far from the Hollywood sex symbol image of 20 years ago, as it's possible to get.

Overall, a cracking film, which is let down a little by a scene near the end in which Gibson does some zombie-like staggering about - drawing some sniggers from the audience.

Winstone is excellent, too, as the quietly-spoken and mysterious Jedburgh.

The original TV series, broadcast in late 1985, starred Bob Peck as Craven and Joanne Whalley - now seen as Winstone's wife in 44 Inch Chest - as his daughter.

Its director, Martin Campbell, went on to direct Casino Royale and the Zorro films, and now takes the helm of this film version of his TV mini-series.

He says: "Someone suggested the possibility of making it into a film about five years ago. I thought it was a great idea.

"I've always felt it was a very powerful story - a father loses his daughter and goes on a journey of discovery not only to find out who killed her and why, but also who she really was."

- LINDSAY JONES

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