Emma Craven [Bojana Novakovic] decides to come home and spend some time with her father, Thomas Craven [Mel Gibson], when she is suddenly murdered in her father’s arms. As Thomas, being a Boston Detective, works his way to the truth as to who killed his daughter and why he finds out about multiple conspiracies occurring with his daughter’s employers and the US Government.
Here is Mel Gibson’s return to the big screen for the first time since The Singing Detective (2003) and it is quite a return. It’s not the greatest revenge film I’ve seen but to call this movie bad is even a greater stretch of the imagination. I found myself ready to be blown away due to all of the tempered praise that the film was getting in early reviews and also since Martin Campbell was directing (also did Casino Royale and GoldenEye). The film offered more of a detective story than any sort of over the top revenge film like last year’s Taken where you saw a father going crazy on any and every lead he could find and hit hard enough until he got the answers he wanted. I was actually very surprised at how professionally Thomas Craven took on the job of finding out who killed his daughter, it was still obvious that he had his hatred deep down inside and was waiting for the right time to go crazy, but it was interesting for once to see a character in this position carry out his revenge so matter of factly.
Now this movie, as I’ve been saying, wasn’t filled to the brim with action sequences, but at the same time it wasn’t devoid of them and when they came around oh boy were they amazing to watch. I particularly enjoyed how Craven handled himself in these situations. You could definitely see some Daniel Craig style James Bond nuances to the way that Craven responded to these attacks, especially in the case of the first lead that Craven gets as to his daughter’s other life that he didn’t know about. At first it’s a bit jarring to see this older police detective being able to handle himself so well, and especially walking in with the knowledge that the director also the two best Bond films of the last ten years but eventually you notice how it wears on him and sloppier he is than Daniel Craig.
I think my favourite final touch to this movie that I really enjoyed is the character Jedburgh [Ray Winstone]. Jedburgh is the guy who is always in a position to help or hurt you and make sure that you find out what you’re allowed to find out and no more. He’s like a spook who is trouble for everyone and anyone. They made it very clear how his feelings are about his life and especially how he felt about the fact that he has no children. Which is why he ends up sympathizing with Craven. I don’t want to spoil it, but the final moments of the film with Winstone’s character was just a glorified cherry on top for my enjoyment of this movie. It’s such a poetic moment when you realize why he did what he did and how kind of beautiful it is.
Overall this is a solid film but suffers from just there being so many better of this kind of story out there for you to enjoy even more. It’s definitely worth it if you’re like he who loves movies and needs something to watch that isn’t complete crap in this time of the year when there isn’t much good at the cinema for you see.
IMDB says 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes says 55%
I say 7.0/10