Groundbreaking environmental-espionage shocker Edge of Darkness
(1985) begins routinely enough but then ratchets the suspense to levels that would have turned Hitchcock green with envy. Emma Craven (Joanne Whalley in her first starring role) is a young environmental activist killed in mysterious circumstances. Emma's father Ron Craven (Bob Peck in a star-making performance) will not be silenced and, as a police detective, is uniquely positioned to pursue his own unofficial investigation. He moves from grief to a determination to find the truth, all the while advised and comforted by Emma, but is she a ghost or a manifestation of his haunted psyche? Craven digs deeper, uncovering labyrinthine conspiracy in the nuclear industry and, as the body-count rises, encounters the garrulous CIA agent Darius Jedburgh (a superb Joe Don Baker) with a mysterious agenda of his own. Accompanied by a haunting musical score by Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton, Edge of Darkness
builds on the legacy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
and Smiley's People
to become quite simply the best television thriller ever.
On the DVD: Edge of Darkness is presented on a two-disc set with the original six episodes complete and unedited (unlike the previous DVD release). The picture and sound has been improved, too, though the 4:3 image still suffers from the graininess of having been shot on 16 mm film and the sound is still unspectacular mono. The main extra is an excellent new 35-minute documentary, "Magnox: the Secrets of Edge of Darkness", with input from producer Michael Wearing, writer Troy Kennedy-Martin, composer Michael Kamen, stars John Woodvine, Charles Kay and Ian McNeice and archive footage with Bob Peck and Joe Don Baker. A notable bonus for fans of Eric Clapton and Kamen's highly atmospheric score is an isolated music track, unfortunately in mono. Less significant are a routine photo gallery, an alternative edit of the final end title and promotional segments from Breakfast Time and Pebble Mill. A BAFTA Award feature (the series won six) is more engaging, as is a roundtable review from Did You See?. --Gary S. Dalkin
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, SYNOPSIS: The British government's nuclear policy is in for a royal drubbing in the tense BBC-TV miniseries Edge of Darkness. Bob Peck stars as London police detective Ron Craven, whose political-activist daughter is murdered right before his eyes. Meticulously following the trail of clues, Craven uncovers a dark conspiracy involving the government and the powerful American CEO of a nuclear power plant. Joe Don Baker and a young Joanne Whaley-Kilmer co-star. The six-part series became a cult favorite in England, where it originally aired in November and December of 1985. All 307 minutes of Edge of Darkness are currently available on video. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...Edge of Darkness