Edison - Review
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Absolute Power – Featurette.
POP superstar Justin Timberlake makes his movie debut in crime thriller Edison, starring alongside Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey in a tale of corruption and murder within a covert police unit.
Yet despite being surrounded by two great actors, the fact that the film failed to make it into cinemas and went straight to DVD speaks volumes for what to expect.
Timberlake is made to look distinctly average in a film that consistently fails to engage the intellect or the interest, despite boasting ideas way above its station.
Writer-director David J Burke lends proceedings a consistently uneven tone that veers from all-out action picture one minute to thinking man’s thriller the next. The ensuing film fails to work as either.
Timberlake stars as ambitious young reporter Josh Pollack, who resolves to uncover the truth behind a covert police branch – F.R.A.T. (First Response Assault and Tactical) – after witnessing a fleeting moment in a courthouse between a defendant and his arresting officer Raphael Deed (LL Cool J).
Enlisting the help of his reluctant editor (Morgan Freeman) and “the best investigator” in the Edison police force (Kevin Spacey), Pollack finds himself on a collision course with the town’s superiors and a renegade officer (Dylan McDermott) who will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from being exposed.
Burke clearly envisaged Edison as a tough crime thriller in the mould of LA Confidential and flirts with the idea of police states and corruption at the highest level.
But his screenplay is so shoddy and the execution so laboured that the film comes nowhere close to realising its potential – and scandalously wastes the talents of some of his leading cast members.
Quite what appealed to Freeman and Spacey when they read the script is a mystery, although both appear to be on auto-pilot until given the chance to perform together.
Timberlake, meanwhile, is just plain expressionless and fails to provide his character with any of the virtues needed to make him endearing. His performance lacks any passion and seems designed to tick all the boxes required of a singer attempting to be taken seriously as an actor, such as being beaten up to mask his good looks.
He even gets to look awkward on the dancefloor in a nightclub sequence that’s just plain excruciating!
Also disappointing and hopelessly mis-cast is Dylan McDermott, whose performance is so OTT that it’s virtually embarrassing.
Indeed, only LL Cool J escapes with any credit as a cop wrestling with his conscience. The rapper at least looks as though he is trying to be convincing.
But come the outrageous shoot-‘em-up finale (which feels lifted out of countless Jean Claude Van Damme movies) any chance that Edison or Timberlake had of being taken seriously goes up in flames along with most of the bad guys.
The result is a criminal waste of everyone’s efforts – viewers and performers alike.
Running time: 97mins