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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

EDISON (article first published : 2006-05-3)

The good cop-bad cop clichès abound in this earnest and convoluted contemporary thriller, a film set in the fictitious city of the title - in reality, Vancouver - and penned and directed by David Burke, hitherto noted for scripting the television series Wiseguy and Crime Story.

Edison is certainly a film likely to attract interest, the commendable cast including heavyweights Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey, as well as Dylan McDermott, John Heard, LL Cool J, Cary Elwes, Piper Perabo and baby-faced singing star Justin Timberlake, who presents a respectable enough performance in his big-screen debut.

However, the fact that the movie is showing at only two cinemas locally says a lot about the distributor's lack of faith in it doing well after lukewarm business abroad and some pretty scathing reviews.

The good news is that it's not as bad as many have made out but, that said, it does leave a lot to be desired.

A major flaw is that the script is all over the place, while dialogue is generally bloated and less than credible. Frankly, it all starts to become a little boring rather quickly.

The tale centres on Timberlake as Josh Pollack, a rookie newspaper journalist who covers a court case and has reason to believe that there may be some corruption among the city's elite cop unit, known as Frat, which is short for First Response Assault and Tactical.

Pollack's ears prick up when he overhears a somewhat suspicious exchange of words between an alleged cocaine dealer and the cop who arrested him. The cop is Raphael Deed (LL Cool J), a Frat member who is the conscience-riddled partner of the quintessential bad cop, a trigger-happy Francis Lazerov, played by a bearded Dylan McDermott.

Pollack then sets to work on writing a story that could draw attention to the fact that the Frat team and the bigwigs involved with it are, indeed, up to shady dealings.

First, however, he has to convince his seasoned editor (Morgan Freeman) that he truly is on to something explosive and enlist his help to gain further evidence. And when he achieves this, the tension and violence is upped and everyone's life, not least that of young Pollack and his girlfriend (Piper Perabo, of Coyote Ugly fame), is placed in increasing danger.

Kevin Spacey crops up as a Frat detective with suspicions of his own, but is completely wasted in a film which, even at an average 97 minutes, seems to overstay its welcome. – Billy Suter




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