(15, 116 mins)
Three stars
Starring Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Jay O Sanders

Award-winning, meaty British television dramas are providing plentiful food for thought across the pond in Hollywood.


Last year, Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams headlined an accomplished version of the BAFTA award-winning 2003 mini-series, State Of Play.

Now, we have more political intrigue and corporate skulduggery in Martin Campbell’s slick interpretation of the 1985 BBC mini-series Edge Of Darkness.

Surely it can only be a matter of time before Tom Hanks takes on the role of plucky DCI Barnaby in an all-guns-blazing remake of Midsomer Murders reset in the American Midwest.

Adapted for the big screen by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell, the film version of Edge Of Darkness condenses six episodes of edge-of-seat suspense into an engrossing two hours, transplanting the cat-and-mouse thrills to Boston.

Campbell directed the original television series and has subsequently proved his mettle with big-budget blockbusters, including The Mask Of Zorro and Casino Royale.

His credentials with high-octane action sequences come in useful for the sporadic set-pieces here, including a couple of bloody shoot-outs.

The orchestrator of the carnage is homicide detective Thomas Craven (Gibson), a veteran of the Boston Police Department, who is looking forward to a visit from his 24-year-old daughter, Emma (Novakovic).

A happy reunion turns to tragedy when a masked assassin guns down Emma on the steps of the family home, taking a bullet that many believe was meant for her father.

Consumed with grief, Thomas shuns support from fellow detective Whitehouse (Sanders), preferring to investigate his daughter’s Murder on his own terms.

Anguish turns to incredulity as the cop uncovers his daughter’s secret life as an activist.

As Craven edges closer to the truth, and Emma’s involvement in the Northmoor research facility run by Jack Bennett (Huston), the government hires shadowy figure Darius Jedburgh (Winstone) to silence the renegade detective.

However, the enigmatic Jedburgh has his own agenda.

Edge Of Darkness begins at a canter but slows noticeably in the plot-saturated middle act when Craven experiences visions of his daughter from childhood.

Gibson has played the embattled father before in Ransom, and he weeps convincingly here when he’s not beating up shady individuals who stand between him and the identity of Emma’s killer.

Confrontations with Jedburgh lack the necessary tension – it’s a pity that Robert De Niro was replaced by Winstone during shooting after reported ‘creative differences’.

The veteran American actor would have brought more gravitas and menace to the role.

Plot threads are neatly tied up before the end credits roll, and Campbell can’t resist a cheesy final shot to emphasise the importance of family ties.