Edge of Darkness (2010 film)

Edge of Darkness is a 2010 conspiracy action thriller film directed by Martin Campbell, written by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell, and starring Mel Gibson. A British-American co-production, it is based on the 1985 BBC television series of the same name, which was likewise directed by Campbell. This was Gibson's first screen lead since Signs (2002), and follows a detective investigating the murder of his activist daughter, while uncovering political conspiracies and cover-ups in the process.

Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness the Movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Campbell
Written by
Based onEdge of Darkness
by Troy Kennedy Martin
Produced by
CinematographyPhil Meheux
Edited byStuart Baird
Music byHoward Shore
Distributed by
Release date
  • January 29, 2010 (2010-01-29) (United Kingdom and United States)
Running time
117 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Budget$80 million[1]
Box office$81.1 million[1]

The film was released on January 29, 2010. It received mixed reviews from critics, though Gibson and Winstone's performances were praised, and grossed $81 million against its $80 million production budget.


At South Station, Boston, homicide detective Thomas Craven picks up his daughter Emma, who comes home to visit and vomits while getting into the car. As Craven prepares dinner at home, Emma suffers a nosebleed and vomits again. Thomas realizes he needs to take his daughter to the hospital. As they step outside the house, a masked gunman yells "Craven!" and fatally wounds Emma with a shotgun blast and escapes as Craven attends to his daughter, who dies in his arms.

At the medical examiner's office, Craven takes a lock of Emma's hair as a memento, then returns to duty to help find out who wanted to kill him. When he discovers that Emma had a .45 pistol in her night stand, he starts to suspect that Emma was the target. He checks the gun's ownership and finds out that it belongs to her boyfriend, David. David is living in fear of Northmoor, the company where he and Emma worked. David will not say more, but Craven incidentally discovers that the lock of Emma's hair is radioactive. Emma had discovered that Northmoor, a research and development facility under contract to the U.S. government and headed by Jack Bennett, was secretly manufacturing nuclear weapons using foreign material. The weapons were intended to be linked with foreign nations if they were used by the US as dirty bombs.

Burning Emma's clothing in his backyard, Craven suddenly draws his weapon and turns to find Jedburgh, a British "consultant", casually sitting in his backyard. Jedburgh was tasked with preventing the disclosure of the information Emma had and tying up any loose ends, including her father. Jedburgh takes a liking to Craven, leaving him to investigate. Craven repeatedly has visions of Emma's past, including short conversations, typically as the happy young child he remembers and loves. Craven eventually discovers through one of Emma's activist friends, who is nearly killed by a Northmoor agent, that Bennett ordered Emma's murder, as well as those of the other activists Emma was working with to expose Northmoor.

Craven confronts U.S. Senator Jim Pine who was contacted earlier by Emma, revealing that Craven knows almost everything that happened. After examining Emma's fridge with a Geiger counter, Craven discovers that her milk is radioactive. His fellow detective and friend, Bill, comes to Craven's home while the Northmoor agents break into the house. Craven realizes that Bill set him up before the agents taser and kidnap Craven, taking him away in an ambulance. He wakes up handcuffed to a gurney in the Northmoor facility, but manages to escape.

His health deteriorating rapidly from radiation poisoning, presumably done to him before he was kidnapped, Craven heads to Bennett's house and kills the Northmoor agents after forcing one of them at gunpoint to shout "Craven," finally identifying him as Emma's killer. Bennett shoots and wounds Craven, but Craven also wounds Bennett and forces some of the radioactive milk down his throat. Bennett attempts to take some pills to counteract the radioactivity, only for Craven to tell Bennett he deserves what's coming to him and then to shoot Bennett dead.

Jedburgh, who is suffering from an unrelated terminal illness, meets with the Senator and two political advisers who had hired Jedburgh to handle Craven. They want to spin the Northmoor incident in a positive light. Jedburgh suggests that an assassination attempt on the Senator could be an angle to drive Bennett's death out of the headlines. They are pleased with this idea until Jedburgh abruptly kills both advisers and the senator. When a young police officer nervously enters the Senator's room, Jedburgh asks the officer at gunpoint if he has children. When the officer replies yes, Jedburgh lowers his gun, allowing the officer to shoot him dead.

While Craven lies dying in the hospital from his wounds and radiation poisoning, a young reporter for the local TV station WFXT, who had spoken to Craven a few nights earlier, opens a letter from him which contains DVDs recorded by Emma revealing the conspiracy, ensuring Northmoor's end. As Craven dies, the spirit of Emma comforts him. Craven and Emma are then shown leaving the hospital together, walking down the corridor and toward 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.[3][6] Filming began on 18 August 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.[4] A scene where Craven scatters his daughter's ashes at a beach was filmed at Rockport on 25 and 26 September.[13] They shot some scenes in Merrimac, Massachusetts from 15 September 2008 to 18 September 2008. Additional scenes were shot in Malden, Massachusetts in the old Malden hospital. Some of the final scenes were shot at a home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Additionally, Gibson and his crew set up shop for filming in western Massachusetts, with 180 staff staying in Northampton hotels. They shot in various locations in the Pioneer Valley, including Tully O'Reilly's Pub, the Northampton Athletic Club, and an older part of the Hampshire County Courthouse, all in Northampton. Also, Sugarloaf Mountain was shut down for a few days while they rented it out.[14] They also filmed at the Notch Visitor Center, Rt. 116, Amherst. 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] Jack Bennett disembarks from a helicopter in one scene. The FAA registration number, N401LH, is visible on the fuselage. This helicopter later collided with a Piper PA-32 on 8 August 2009, over the Hudson River, resulting in nine deaths. The helicopter was owned by Liberty Helicopters, which offers sight-seeing tours around Manhattan.[16] The film was originally scored by classical composer John Corigliano. However, the decision was made during postproduction (after Corigliano's score had been recorded and dubbed) to replace his score with a new one by Howard Shore.


Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 55% based on 217 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "For better and for worse, Edge of Darkness offers vintage Mel Gibson, working within the familiar framework of a bloody revenge thriller."[17] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score 55 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[19]

Film critic Richard Roeper gave the film a grade of "B", stating: "Gibson excels in this entertaining conspiracy thriller".[20] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "An intense Mel Gibson performance anchors this brutally effective crime thriller".[21] Some critics, such as A.O. Scott of The New York Times, saw a similarity to Taken.[22] Other critics, such as Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert,[23] Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips,[24] and New Orleans Times-Picayune film critic Mike Scott,[25] described Ray Winstone's character in the film as "intriguing".

Box officeEdit

On its first weekend, the film opened number two, grossing $17.1 million behind Avatar.[26] The film went on to gross $43.3 million in the United States and Canada and $37.8 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $81.1 million, against a production budget of $80 million.[1]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released by Warner Home Video on 11 May 2010, on DVD and Blu-ray.[27][28]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Edge of Darkness (2010)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.
  2. ^ a b Michael Fleming (1 August 2008). "De Niro to join Mel Gibson on 'Edge'". Variety. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b Michael Fleming (28 April 2008). "Mel Gibson returns for 'Darkness'". Variety. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  4. ^ a b "We hear: Mel Gibson, Jason Varitek, Chaka Kahn". Boston Herald. 20 August 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  5. ^ Michael Fleming (12 September 2008). "Winstone replaces De Niro in 'Edge'". Variety. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d e Borys Kit (14 August 2008). "Three join Mel Gibson's 'Edge of Darkness'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  7. ^ Michael Fleming (4 September 2008). "De Niro exits 'Edge of Darkness'". Variety. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Maria Gabrielle Popa". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013.
  9. ^ Bryon Perry (8 October 2008). "Gbenga Akinnagbe". Variety. Retrieved 7 November 2008.[verification needed]
  10. ^ "Frank Ridley". IMDb. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Edge of Darkness 'set for big screen'". BBC News. 16 January 2002. Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Jonathan L'Ecuyer (24 August 2008). "Mel Gibson will film scene in Rockport". Gloucester Daily Times. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
  14. ^ The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 1 October 2008, "Actor Mel Gibson coming to Northampton next week to shoot new film on Main Street" (The page at masslive.com was updated on 26 January 2010; it covers all of the production locations mentioned above.), accessed 20 May 2011
  15. ^ "Edge of Darkness: Martin Campbell interview". BBC Film Network. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  16. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (8 August 2009). "Tourist Helicopter and Small Plane Collide Over Hudson River - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Edge of Darkness (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  18. ^ "Edge of Darkness Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  19. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Edge of Darkness" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  20. ^ Richard Roeper. "Edge of Darkness Review". Richard Roeper.com. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  21. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael. "Edge of Darkness Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  22. ^ Scott, A.O. (29 January 2010). "Movie Review – Edge of Darkness – Jaw-Breaking Boston Detective Unravels His Daughter's Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 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.
  23. ^ Ebert, Roger (27 January 2010). "Edge of Darkness". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 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.
  24. ^ Phillips, Michael (28 January 2010). "Talking Pictures: 'Edge of Darkness' – 3 stars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 January 2010. Among them: Ray Winstone as assassin/fixer/philosopher of mysterious employ, who quietly becomes the most intriguing character...
  25. ^ Scott, Mike (29 January 2010). "Mel Gibson returns in 'Edge of Darkness' – and it's the same old Mel". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 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.
  26. ^ Corliss, Richard (31 January 2010). "Avatar Pushes Mel Gibson Off the Edge". Time. Archived from the original on 3 February 2010.
  27. ^ "Edge of Darkness DVD::Standard Edition". WBshop.com. Warner Home Video. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  28. ^ "Blu-ray Picks Of The Week for May 11th" HD Report

External linksEdit