A couple of weeks ago I did a post here which was like a digital shake of the head over why there was an American reboot of The Edge of Darkness – a remake of a groundbreaking British TV series so evocative of the Thatcher years and the fear then about lurking Radiation. Of course, this is a very personal blog, its posts are the result of my very biased expectations and disappointments. I want to hear another point of view and so I was delighted to get another take on Mel Gibson’s Edge of Darkness, which made me realise that not everyone has had access to the BBC’s library of fine dramas. And just because I am bemused by the need for a Boston remake, being so satisfied by the British 80s’ original, maybe I should consider that this film is not aimed at me. That is why I enjoy doing this blog. I like to express my mind but I am very happy to get a shove in a different direction. And this shove is from friend Paul in the NE US, who has generously commented on my blog rants for almost three years now.
It’s also interesting to consider what this role may have meant to Mel Gibson – why this was picked as the vehicle for re-entry into the movies. Is it because there was something in this role as Craven that spoke to Gibson? And, as I hoped in my original post, new audiences are now discovering the original series due to the release of the DVD in the US – as a result, no doubt, of this film. Enough from me… the rest is from Paul.
‘As far as I can tell, Americans have had access to “Edge of Darkess” on DVD for only three months. There were other DVDs earlier, but a multi-region DVD player would have been necessary in order to play them. …. But for the average American who selects videos by browsing the racks in a video store or public library, there would be no public awareness at all that the BBC series was among the videos that could have been selected.
Yes, I did feel brave by watching the Mel Gibson movie. I thought the probable blood and carnage would bother me a lot. Maybe I went in so prepared that it didn’t faze me. It’s a revenge fantasy film, and like “Hamlet,” anybody who doesn’t end up dead at the end wasn’t trying hard enough. As for seeing a Mel Gibson movie after his disgraceful repeated anti-Semitic outbursts, that’s part of my inclination towards shocking people sometimes. I’ve enjoyed going to a few controversial films like “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Anyway, Gibson’s outbursts will probably become part of some successful biopic someday after we are long gone. The most outrageous things turn out to be the most entertaining spectacles in later generations. Look at the success of “Sweeney Todd,” and the movies about Nazi Germany that filmmakers continue to make because they make so much money. Was “Inglorious Basterds” unusually over-the-top and outrageous? Sure. Did it bring in some cash? Yes, 120 million in the U.S. Did it even earn some Oscar nominations? You bet! I rest my case.
There are some beautiful, poignant scenes between father and daughter in the film. I live in Boston. Roslindale, where the Cravens live, is only a couple miles from where I live. There’s a beautiful scene in the Public Garden where Craven sits on a bench and watches the swan boats. He is still badly shaken from his daughter’s death. He hears her voice, and says, “I can’t go on.” “Daddy, you have to go on,” she replies. As it turns out, he does get his revenge, but it is pyrrhic at best.
It’s not a great movie, but it’s a good one. It doesn’t have to be able to *add* anything to a series that many Americans may not even have known the existence of, any more than “All in the Family” added anything to “Coronation Street.”
All things being equal, I’d rather have Mel Gibson acting than sitting around waiting to erupt. When he’s acting, the studio (if it’s wise) arranges for someone to keep an eye on him and make sure he’ll be able to finish his work. He needs a keeper. Maybe the character of Craven was not a big stretch for him.’