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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Nothing is learned, no good comes of anyone's actions, and things like bravery and trust eventually fall by the wayside. The main character quickly learns that he can't even trust the police in his own department. Breaking the rules seems to be his only answer; recklessness and revenge seem to be the ultimate motivators.
Positive Role Models
The main character only begins to make headway on his case when he acts increasingly reckless; he tells people he has nothing to lose and doesn't care. His efforts come to nothing more than a bloodbath and revenge -- he doesn't learn anything or change. His daughter, who tries to right a terrible wrong in the world, pays the ultimate price, and nothing comes of her efforts.
Violence & Scariness
A young woman is blasted across a front porch with a shotgun, creating several holes in her torso and a lot of blood (it soaks through a white rug). Viewers see several more dead bodies, complete with bloody, gory wounds, and disturbing photographs of still more dead bodies. (The hero is personally responsible for at least three.) Additionally there's lots of guns and gunfire, car crashes, and one knife attack.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The hero and his adult daughter have a very brief conversation about the possibility of her being pregnant (and whether she has a boyfriend). The hero accuses another man of wanting to have sex with his daughter.
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Multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t" in all their various forms, plus at least one use of "hell," "piss," "asshole," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).
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Products & Purchases
The hero types on a Sony VAIO laptop, and his daughter arrives on Amtrak. Crown Royal Whisky is mentioned once and shown later.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character no longer drinks, but he keeps a bottle of whisky, which he pours for a visitor. Later, viewers see the same visitor drinking wine. In another scene, an upset young man sits down with a six-pack of beer and begins drinking vigorously.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Edge of Darkness is an extremely convoluted cop/conspiracy thriller that's very heavy on violence, with a large pile of bloody corpses, plenty of guns, shootouts, fights, chases, and crashes. Characters use harsh language, with plenty of "f--k" and "s--t." Despite a strong performance by star Mel Gibson, the movie has a sour, hopeless tone. Characters who do the right thing are brutally punished, and Gibson's character -- the ostensible hero -- acts recklessly and violently. The film eventually sinks to a revenge finale with no positive lessons to take away. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The thrills are few and far between, and the rest of the movie consists of complex but not particularly clever dialogue. Winstone's character is used to fill in the blanks, but the movie is never sure if he's a mysterious, all-knowing outsider or just another link in the chain. Gibson (with a Boston accent) is very good in the lead role, and his scenes with Winstone make for some of the movie's most enjoyable moments. But as the character spins more and more out of control, the movie seems to go with him.
Talented genre director Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro, Casino Royale) stepped up in EDGE OF DARKNESS to adapt a BBC miniseries he worked on in 1985; unfortunately, the result feels condensed and convoluted, with too many cheap shortcuts to tie things together. It's a combination of the absurd -- as it deals with cartoonish villains with cartoonish plans -- and grim, as it follows the murder of the hero's daughter and several other gruesome, violent deaths.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.