Monday, April 26, 2010

Moofies - Edge of Darkness

EXPECTATIONS: I loathe Mel Gibson. I enjoyed the Mad Max films, the Lethal Weapon movies were pretty dull, but after sitting through The Passion of the Christ I vowed that I hated Gibson for the rest of my natural born life. He went to the trouble of making a film in an ancient language, but unfortunately it was still just a feature length gross out fest designed to make me feel guilty or something. I detested it. I didn't stop there either! I tried Apocalypto because it seemed like it might be something interesting, but Gibson forces these tired plot devices and humour into his films and I just couldn't do it. Then he grew a huge beard and went crazy or something.

So why did I decide to sit through Edge of Darkness? Well, it's co-written by Andrew Bovell. I think Bovell is one of the best screenwriters in the universe. He's responsible for Head On and Lantana, which I completely loved, so I thought I would give this a go, despite my seething Mel Gibson hatred. I'm honestly not sure what to expect.

REALITY: I still hate Mel Gibson; possibly more so after sitting through Edge of Darkness. The film begins with Gibson meeting his daughter at a train station or something. She starts to throw up and get the shakes. Gibby grabs his coat and they both walk out of the front door, headed for the doctors, when all of a sudden BAM!; his daughter receives a shotgun wound to the chest and dies. The killer drives off, leaving detective Gibson to solve the case.

Gibson spends the entire film with a stoic, blank face. Was he always like this in movies??? He may be trying to be all "upset father" but he acts exactly the same as he did before his daughter died so I couldn't tell. The storyline is just ludicrous. His daughter works for some secret science organisation or some crap and her sickness and death are linked to her top secret work. Detective Gibson must make his way through the ranks until he finds the real reason for the loss of his girl. This could have been at least hammy fun, but it's so incredibly dull. I seriously had to start playing Super Princess Peach on my DS about half way through in order to not die of overexposure to uninteresting talking heads, and I can honestly sit through almost anything without video game assistance.

Gibson isn't the only "star" in this film either. Ray Winstone plays Ray Winstone, but it's like he's been told by the director to tone it down to minus 500; I almost didn't recognise him because he didn't scream spit into anyone's face while turning red. Even Danny "I'm putting together a special team" Huston could have had fun with his super bad business man character, but he totally phones it in. Perhaps it's not even a phone in job, but a poorly directed film. All the acting is so subdued, but the storyline beneath it is not serious or interesting, so the whole thing just ends up being painfully dull.

So why is Andrew Bovell involved? I have to rectify this in my head somehow. When Tim Burton made me sit through an unforgivably boring remake of Planet of the Apes I was done with him, but Bovell is so ridiculously talented. I have to make up a story to be okay with him, so here goes.

BBC have a series called Edge of Darkness that they want to make into a film for an American audience because American's can't watch "foreign films" for some reason, according to producers anyway. They slap something together but it lacks any real emotion. Midway through a depressing viewing of the film, a discussion begins...

Producer 1: "This is just a bunch of talking heads".

Producer 2: "zzzzzzzzzzz..snork...wha? Sorry. I just dozed off for a minute there. What were you saying?"

Producer 1: "This film. It's just a bunch of talking heads. I'm really, incredibly bored".

Producer 2: (pauses in thought, then DING!) "HEY! You know I saw a great Australian film that was just talking heads. Lan-something. It was totally arty believable stuff. Great film".

Producer 1: "Get Andrew Bovell on the phone".

Bovell receives an already completed script and a rough cut of the film in the mail. He scratches his head, looks at the paycheck, and decides to give it a bash. He adds in some early dialogue to try and establish the fact that Gibson and his daughter actually have a really close relationship. It's extremely well written and would have salvaged the film a little, but Gibson is too busy smoking crack to return to London and film the scenes so the producers just tack on some home video footage of Gibson and his daughter, slap Bovell's name on the film, and release a piece of utter garbage.

Andrew Bovell, we are square. Don't do this to me ever again.

1/2 a star.

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