We can remake it, better, stronger, more Mel Gibson

Edge of Darkness.

Edge of Darkness was an iconic miniseries starring Bob Peck and Joe Don Baker (as Colonel Jedburgh) about the exposure of shenanigans in Britain’s nuclear industry after Peck’s daughter played by Joanne Whalley was murdered. The premise of the film is the same, but it’s been transferred to the States. Bob Peck has now become Mel Gibson, and Joe Don Baker has not only turned into Ray Winstone, but has also been demoted to captain. 

While the story in the film version has remained the same, some of the details appear to have been altered for American audiences. Gibson has his violent revenge on the man who was behind his daughter’s death. Jedburgh kills the Republicans who were behind the scheme, but is then killed by a security guard. In the original, the heavily irradiated Jedburgh went on a rampage when the army came for him. 

I’d say that if the original version of Edge of Darkness is out on DVD and you’ve never seen it, then that’s the one to get. This version does what it can, but constrained by time, it lacks the depth of the series.

Me and Orson Welles.

Richard is a schoolboy by day and thesp by night. He ends up playing Lucius in Orson Welles’ production of Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre in New York in 1937. Welles is brilliant, but egotistical, arrogant, and unforgiving. Richard falls for Sonja, the theatre’s secretary, but learns the hard way that relationships in the world of entertainment can be mere dalliances or matters of policy.

Richard and Welles eventually cross swords, and the latter wins him over, but only so that the first night of the play will be a success. After the performance is over, and Richard is circulating around the room (but tellingly left out of the conversations), he is informed by one of the other actors that he’s been fired. Welles, though, is too cowardly to do it himself. As for Sonja, she’s after a Hollywood producer, and Richard goes back to being a schoolboy.

This was surprisingly entertaining. For a film I bought on a whim, with a title that sounds a little cheesy, this was much better than I was expecting. Christian McKay (who turns out to be from Bury), who played the part of Orson Welles, dominated the film, but Zac Efron, who I know in name only, did a reasonable job as Richard without simply wandering around being pretty and shallow. The dialogue was quite snappy at times, and didn’t try to be boringly serious. I think I also liked the film because it was light and didn’t seem to be pretending to be anything else. Some of the other films I’ve seen recently look even more leaden in comparison.


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