Edge of Darkness has a couple of flaws, the first of which is that the story feels drawn out unnecessarily. The second is in the way that the movie portrays a stereotypical evil corporate defense contractor, which is completely unrealistic, and even has a slight James Bond villain feel to it. But despite the film's flaws, the last 20 minutes deliver in a big way. Mel Gibson shines as a cop out for revenge for the murder of his daughter. It is hard to imagine anyone else playing the role with the same kind of intensity.
As the story goes, Detective Thomas Craven (Gibson) witnesses his daughter's murder, and becomes obsessed with finding the killer. The trail leads him to her place of work, which is a corporate military contractor that is up to some shenanigans. It seems that his daughter was going to blow the whistle on the company.
There are a few scenes where Craven imagines talking to his dead daughter, as if he might be losing his mind. This turns into a key plot point, and is important to the final scene of the movie, which at first I found emotionally moving. However, afterwards, I felt like the final scene was a little corny.
When I saw the actor Danny Huston, I recognized him from the cable series Magic City. In that series he plays a gangster, who is as close to the human equivalent of the devil that a human can get. In Edge of Darkness he is just the evil head of a corporation, and unlike his television counterpart, he at times shows that he has human weaknesses. His presence in the movie, along with the intense performance by Mel Gibson, uplifts the film and saves it from a negative review.
There was a time when Mel Gibson would play in top grossing films and command top salary, but he made some personal mistakes, and Hollywood is not that forgiving. Here he is playing in what is essentially a B movie. It is a second tier film that just barely manages to be good enough to make it worth watching.
Rating: * * *
Edge of Darkness has a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. My favorite movie critic, Richard Roeper, gives it three stars. The late Roger Ebert gave it two and a half stars.