A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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What's the story?
Emma Craven (Bojana Novakovic), who works as an intern at a security research compound, comes home to Boston for a visit with her beloved dad, police detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson). But before they even get settled, Emma is shot and killed on Thomas' front porch. The police think Thomas was the target, but his own investigation leads in a different direction. He learns that Emma was about to blow the whistle on her company -- but why? And how can one cop stand up against an entire web of corruption that includes a corporate CEO (Danny Huston), a U.S. senator (Damian Young), and a mysterious secret agent called Jedburgh (Ray Winstone)?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what the movie is saying about revenge. Does it solve problems in the end? Do you think it's worth what the characters go through?
Was the movie's violence gruesome or shocking? Is the main character desensitized to violence? How does watching this much violence make you feel?
Families can talk about "whistleblowing." Emma tries to report a big corporation's dangerous and illegal deeds to the authorities. How realistic is it that a person's life would be in danger in this situation? How much would you risk to do the right thing?
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