Pixel Tracker

Friday, December 14 , 2018, 4:11 pm | A Few Clouds 62º


Cinema in Focus: ‘Edge of Darkness’

The remake of an acclaimed British TV series maintains the same powerful plot

3 Stars — Powerful

Martin Campbell’s remake of the acclaimed British television series by Troy Kennedy Martin is dynamic. Removing many of the original environmental and New Age elements, Campbell turns Edge of Darkness into a tale of a greedy and perhaps insane corporate magnate whose company is complicit with the CIA in illegal and immoral activities.

Where the film is dramatically different from Martin’s TV series is in its spiritual worldview. Although the cast and crew did not allow it, Martin wanted to have his leading character turn into a tree at his death, consistent with his belief in Gaia of New Age theology. In Campbell’s remake, the leading character is joined by his deceased daughter, who returns at the moment of his death to walk with him into the light of life after life.

However, the plot is the same: A police officer’s daughter is murdered on the steps of his home. The location has moved from Yorkshire, England to Boston, Mass., but the angst is identical. Detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) loves his only daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic). Although their relationship is troubled for reasons not explained in the film, Emma’s unexpected visit ends quickly and violently. It is then that the journey begins to discover the cause of her death.

The evil corporate magnate is Jack Bennett (Danny Huston), but the ironic character of professional killer Capt. Jedburgh (Ray Winstone) is the key to the tale.

Jedburgh is a private contractor the CIA uses to keep the police from being able to uncover the truth about its clandestine operations. In this instance, Bennett is the CEO of a company that is creating nuclear weapons from foreign material which, when used, can be blamed on terrorists. As a graduate of MIT and new employee of Bennett’s firm, Emma discovers this truth and decides to expose them.

What makes the film powerful is the angst with which Craven attempts to avenge his daughter’s death. Alone in the world and nearing the end of his career as a policeman, Craven has the skill and the drive to pursue his goal. His vengeance joins the lawlessness of the conspirators, and the film follows a violent trail to its conclusion.

Although the film has a Christian worldview, what is obviously lacking is any faith community in Craven’s life. When his daughter is killed, he has no one to celebrate her life, and in isolated pain he pours her cremated remains on the beach they shared in her childhood. This void of shared life with those who follow the grace and forgiveness of God leaves Craven to his grief and pain, driving him to vengeance.

It’s a solution that fits his simple beliefs and resolves his anger, but it’s not a solution to heal his soul. That must be found in his love for his daughter and in the light they enter at his death.


» Since the film doesn’t explain Craven’s relationship with his daughter, except through old movies and a comment from his daughter’s boyfriend, what kind of relationship do you think they had? Why?

» The betrayal by Craven’s fellow detective is predictable because of the way he is presented in the film. Do you see this as a weakness of the film or a helpful precursor?

» If your daughter was killed by an assassin and you had the skills to exact vengeance, would you? What would you have to become to do so? Do you accept Craven’s simple creed?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.