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Edge of Darkness

UK Theatrical poster
Directed by Martin Campbell
Produced by Graham King
Tim Headington
Michael Wearing
Written by William Monahan
Andrew Bovell
Troy Kennedy Martin (Series)
Starring Mel Gibson
Ray Winstone
Danny Huston
Bojana Novakovic
Jay O. Sanders
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Phil Meheux
Editing by Stuart Baird
Studio GK Films
BBC Films
Icon Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (USA)
Icon Productions (non-USA)
Release date(s) January 28, 2010 (2010-01-28)
02010-01-29 January 29, 2010
(United Kingdom)
(United States)
Running time 117 min.
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $87 million[1][2]
Gross revenue $64,376,457[3]

Edge of Darkness is a 2010 film adaptation of the 1985 BBC television series of the same name. The film stars Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone, and is directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Michael Wearing, who also directed and produced the series respectively. Edge of Darkness follows a detective (Gibson) investigating the murder of his activist daughter (Bojana Novakovic), while uncovering political conspiracies and cover-ups in the process.

In the US, Argentina, and on DVD in Australia and the UK, the film is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, which also distributed the unrelated 1943 film with the same title.



By moonlight, three bodies float to the surface of the western Massachusetts stretch of the Connecticut river. At South Station, Boston, Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) picks up his daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic), who has returned home to visit. She throws up, while getting into Thomas' car. At home, as he prepares a meal, Emma starts a nosebleed and vomits violently and as they hurriedly leave to find a hospital, a masked gunman yells, “Craven,” and fires two shotgun blasts at Emma simultaneously. Blasted through the door, she dies in Thomas' arms.

At first, everyone believes that Thomas, a police detective, was the gunman's target, but when Thomas finds Emma had a pistol in her night stand, he starts to suspect that Emma was an intended target. He checks the ownership of the pistol and finds that it belongs to her boyfriend David (Shawn Roberts). David is frightened of the company Northmoor where Emma worked and Thomas discovers that Emma became aware that Northmoor was manufacturing nuclear weapons, intended to be traced to foreign nations if they are used as dirty bombs. Following the failed break-in of the activists, Emma was poisoned with thallium through a carton of organic milk. Burning her effects in his lawn, Thomas encounters Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), a "consultant" tasked to prevent Craven from discovering Emma's information, or kill him. Liking each other, instead, Jedburgh leaves Thomas to investigate. Throughout the film, Thomas repeatedly imagines he hears and sees his daughter, even having short conversations and interactions with her.

Thomas also has several encounters with Northmoor mercenaries, and he eventually discovers through Emma's activist contact that Jack Bennett (Danny Huston), head of Northmoor, ordered the murder of his daughter, as well as the activists Emma was working with to steal evidence of the illegal nuclear weapons. Northmoor personnel kill a hitman marked as a fall guy after he is set up for killing Emma's boyfriend, and attempt to murder another activist who gave Emma's information to Thomas. After confronting a lawyer and Senator that Emma contacted, revealing that they know almost everything that happened, Bennett has Northmoor operatives allow Thomas to be poisoned with thallium, as his daughter had been.

Thomas, now very sick, arrives at Bennett's house and kills the mercenaries, one of whom Thomas realizes is the man who shot his daughter. Bennett shoots Thomas, but Thomas tackles Bennett and pulls out the radioactive milk. He forces it down Bennett's throat and collapses. Bennett runs to his cabinet to get pills to counteract the radioactivity but Tom drags himself over and shoots Bennett through the throat.

Thomas is hospitalized for the gunshot wounds and radioactive poisoning. Jedburgh, who is revealed to be suffering from a terminal illness, meets with Moore, the Senator (for whom he had been working) and a political advisor. He listens to their suggestions as to how to play the Northmoor incident in a positive light. He tells them that he is done and then suggests an assassination attempt on the Senator should be the feature story, to drive Bennett’s death out of the tabloids. They are happy to go along with the story until Jedburgh tells the senator that he is on the wrong side of the equation. Jedburgh then pulls out his gun and shoots all three men dead before a young Massachusetts State Trooper comes in, gun drawn. Jedburgh gets the drop on the trooper and asks if the young man has a family and kids. The young man says yes and Jedburgh lowers his gun, and is instantly shot and killed by the trooper.

As Thomas lies dying in the hospital, we see Emma walk into his room, then lean down at his bedside and whisper in his ear. Across town, a young reporter opens a letter from Thomas with DVDs revealing the conspiracy, with Thomas's “good luck” wishes, ensuring the company's end. As he dies, Emma comforts him. Then the father and daughter leave the hospital together, walking down the corridor into a bright, white light.



In 2002, Martin Campbell announced that he was planning to adapt Edge of Darkness for the cinema.[11] Active development began in early 2007 when Campbell met with producer Graham King, who first enlisted Australian playwright Andrew Bovell to write, and then William Monahan (fresh from winning an Academy Award for King's The Departed) to re-write the screenplay.[12] Michael Wearing and BBC Films also co-produced the film.[5][8] Filming began on August 18, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.[6] A scene where Craven scatters his daughter's ashes at a beach was filmed at Rockport on September 25 and 26.[13] They shot some scenes in Merrimac, Massachusetts from September 15, 2008 to September 18, 2008. Additional scenes were shot in Malden, MA in the old Malden hospital. Some of the final scenes were shot at a home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA.

Additionally, Gibson and his crew set up shop for filming in western Massachusetts, reportedly staying in Northampton. They shot in various locations in the Pioneer Valley, including Tully O'Reilly's Pub and the Northampton Athletic Club, both in Northampton. Also, Sugarloaf Mountain was shut down for a few days while they rented it out. They also filmed at the Notch Visitor Center, Rt. 116, Amherst.[14]

The film takes place in America, unlike the television series, which was based in England. "The idea was to transfer the story to a different time and place rather than just repeat what we did in England," Campbell said. "Boston seemed like the perfect location because it does have a whole English, Irish signature on it." [15]

The film was originally scored by classical composer John Corigliano. However, the decision was taken during postproduction (after Corigliano's score had been recorded and dubbed) to replace his score with a new score by Howard Shore.


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 54% of 158 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.8 out of 10.[16] Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 55%, based on a sample of 31 reviews. The site's general consensus is that "For better and for worse, Edge of Darkness offers vintage Mel Gibson, working within the familiar framework of a bloody revenge thriller."[17] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 1–100 reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 55 based on 34 reviews.[18] Film critic Richard Roeper of Richard Roeper & the Movies gave the film a B stating "Gibson excels in this entertaining conspiracy thriller" in his review for the film.[19] Michael Rechtshaffen, a top critic for the Hollywood Reporter said "An intense Mel Gibson performance anchors this brutally effective crime thriller".[20] Some critics such as A.O. Scott of The New York Times have noted the movie's similarity to Taken. [21] However, some critics described Ray Winstone's character in the movie as "intriguing" such as Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert [22], Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips [23], and New Orleans Times-Picayune film critic Mike Scott. [24]


  1. ^ "'Avatar' still leads in seventh Friday". Variety. Reed Business Information. January 30, 2010. Retrieved February 3, 2010. ""Darkness," produced and financed by GK Films for $60 million, follows Gibson as a Boston homicide detective who uncovers the reasons behind his activist daughter’s death." 
  2. ^ "Movie projector: Mel Gibson's return challenged by Kristen Bell, not that James Cameron has to worry". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. January 28, 2010. Retrieved February 3, 2010. "Still, distributor Warner Bros. paid $27 million to acquire domestic rights to the movie from GK Films, which fully financed it, meaning it could be a modest success if word of mouth is good and it plays well for several weeks." 
  3. ^ "Edge of Darkness (2010)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Michael Fleming (2008-08-01). "De Niro to join Mel Gibson on 'Edge'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  5. ^ a b Michael Fleming (2008-04-28). "Mel Gibson returns for 'Darkness'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  6. ^ a b "We hear: Mel Gibson, Jason Varitek, Chaka Kahn". Boston Herald. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  7. ^ Michael Fleming (2008-09-12). "Winstone replaces De Niro in 'Edge'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Borys Kit (2008-08-14). "Three join Mel Gibson's 'Edge of Darkness'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  9. ^ Michael Fleming (2008-09-04). "De Niro exits 'Edge of Darkness'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  10. ^ Bryon Perry (2008-10-08). "Gbenga Akinnagbe". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  11. ^ "Edge of Darkness 'set for big screen'". BBC News Online. 2002-01-16. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Jonathan L'Ecuyer (2008-08-24). "Mel Gibson will film scene in Rockport". Gloucester Daily Times. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Edge of Darkness: Martin Campbell interview". BBC Film Network. 2010-01-26. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  16. ^ "Edge of Darkness Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Edge of Darkness (Top Critics)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Edge of Darkness: Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Edge of Darkness Review". Richard Retrieved 2010-1-29. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Scott, A.O.. "Movie Review - Edge of Darkness - Jaw-Breaking Boston Detective Unravels His Daughter’s Murder". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-1-29. "Mr. Gibson brought a wild, unpredictable streak to his action-hero persona. He traded that in at some point for the haggard, humorless demeanor he shows here, cracking the occasional somber joke on his way to breaking another jaw. Liam Neeson did this kind of parental rage much better in 2008 in Taken, which was an unusually lively and persuasive example of the genre." 
  22. ^ Ebert, Roger (2010-01-27). "Edge of Darkness". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-1-30. "He's joined in this by the superb British actor Ray Winstone, as an intriguing free agent who turns up in Craven's garden one night with a cigar and an enigmatic line of patter." 
  23. ^ Phillips, Michael (2010-1-28). "Talking Pictures: 'Edge of Darkness' -- 3 stars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-1-30. "Among them: Ray Winstone as assassin/fixer/philosopher of mysterious employ, who quietly becomes the most intriguing character..." 
  24. ^ Scott, Mike (2010-1-29). "Mel Gibson returns in 'Edge of Darkness' -- and it's the same old Mel". Retrieved 2010-1-30. "British actor Ray Winstone ("The Departed, " "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"), who plays an intriguingly complex hitman torn between doing his job and doing the right thing." 

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