Edge of Darkness, part IV

by Suw on July 13, 2003

Last Sunday, despite feeling like seven shades of shite, I watched Edge of Darkness, episode III. I made my parents sit through it – I’m not sure they were impressed. My Dad doesn’t remember much about it at all, although I remember him being keen on it at the time.

Both last week and this, I put some effort in and I concentrated, and was I ever rewarded. Today was episode IV. For some reason, I had thought this was only a four episode series, but there are another two to go, and they’ll be shown next week, back to back. I am so excited!

This is an amazing series, just fantastic. I’m used now to the quietness, the lack of incidental music, the lack of pace. And I’m used to cinematography which these days would end up on the cutting room floor. In one scene in particular tonight you could see precisely nothing, bar a car door and a concrete barrier. But sheesh, the script is tight as a gnat’s arse.

Ronnie Craven has learnt how his daughter gained access to Northmoor, the nuclear reprocessing plant that’s pretending to be a nuclear fuel dump. He’s been committed for psychiatric care, but has discharged himself from the hospital. He’s still seeing and talking to his dead daughter, but frankly, she tells him nothing he didn’t already know.

Jedburgh, the annoying American CIA type, has thrown his lot in with Craven, although we’re not sure why. Craven has come face-to-face with McCroon, his daughter’s killer, only for him to be shot right in front of Craven just as he was about to tell Craven about who hired him.

It’s a stark contrast, actually, between the scene where Emma’s killer is shot in front of Craven, and the scene in Fargo, which I watched the other evening, where the cop is shot in front of one of the kidnappers. In Edge of Darkness, McCroon gets shot and Craven is just covered in blood. Just covered. In Fargo, the traffic cop gets shot in the head and we see a small fountain of blood and Carl is spattered slightly.

Seems to me that, if anything, this type of violence has become really understated these days. In reality, if someone has a fight, one big punch and the punchee has got a shattered jaw and is on the floor in agony whereas the puncher has a broken hand and is not much better off. The media would have us believe that small bruises are pretty much all we can expect. My friend A feels particularly strongly about this sort of misrepresentation, having been the punchee.

Bob Peck is fantastic as Ronnie Craven, Joe Don Baker as Jedburgh is the stereotypical Texan, but damn, he’s good at it. Ian McNeice and Charles Kay are perfect as the smarmy intelligence agents Harcourt and Pendleton.

I’m heartbroken to find out, though, that Bob Peck died of cancer in 1999, at only 53. A tragic loss, I feel. However, I’ve also found out that he was in Bird of Prey II, sequel to the thriller that I mentioned before (and which is mentioned on IMDB as a ?seminal computer thriller?). I didn’t know this, but Bird of Prey was produced by Michael Wearing, who also produced Edge of Darkness a few years later. No wonder the two are linked so strongly in my memory.

I’m just totally smitten by Edge of Darkness, though. I have to have the DVD. This will require me to dismantle my puter and put my old DVD player in it (my old box died, the replacement box is older than my old box and the CD player can’t handle DVDs).

Wish me luck.

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