Mel Gibson’s Death of a Dissident: 'Edge of Darkness'

The death of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko instantly comes to mind when seeing Mel Gibson’s 'Edge of Darkness.'

Why?

Premeditated, homicidal radioactive poisoning.

Alexander Litvinenko

Such an assassination by a personalized nuclear weapon has only one notable precedent, and that is the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London. Since Litvinenko died under British protection, and the producers of 'Edge of Darkness' come from a BBC television series, one can’t possibly deny these connections between fiction and fact.

However, the mainstream press and Wikipedia seem deliberately deaf, dumb, and blind to the obvious. For them, the radioactivity theme is an “environmental issue.”

BBC’s most recent attention to the Death of Alexander Litvinenko as a dissident of neo-Soviet Russia, September 12, 2011, is here.

Not only is Vladimir Putin implicated in this murder, but the book on Litvinenko’s assassination, authored by Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander, stresses the strong connection between Putin and one of his major benefactors, George Soros.

Hmmm …

The brevity of Wikipedia’s attention to the book and Wikipedia’s dismissal of the Goldfarb/Livinenko point of view is profoundly unconvincing. A major disagreement between the likes of Putin and his former benefactor, Boris Berezovsky, is not only likely but, in light of Putin’s undeniably dictatorial reign over Russia, inevitable.

To what extent the 'Edge of Darkness' producers, typically to the left of the American political center, wished to deflect the issue of what amounts to the “atomic assassination" of Alexander Litvinenko is open to highly divisive interpretation.

The 'Edge of Darkness' film undeniably maligns the American government, American politicians and -- with the Jay Saunders character betraying Gibson, his fellow detective -- it also stains American law enforcement. The film clearly intends to deflect the attention from England and onto America. It seems to intentionally blur the growing headlines of Russia’s refusal to deport the two Russian suspects in the murder of Litvinenko.

Not unexpectedly, 'Edge of Darkness’'s very French concoction of a film noir anti-hero, Jedburgh (performed with icily charming brilliance by Ray Winstone), is the only British presence on the screen. Robert De Niro had been scheduled for the role but withdrew due to “artistic differences.” England is exonerated totally by the surprising climax. The American establishment and its weapons industry is revealed as entirely at fault for the rather Kamikaze fates of both the Gibson and Winstone characters.

Hmmm, indeed.

Marina Litvinenko has admitted that her husband was a British spy. Here’s the possible scenario, if indeed Putin was behind “the atomic poisoning story that will not go away.”

“Leave this message on the doorstep of the entire world, but particularly in the parlors of Russian dissidents, in exile and otherwise: protesting anything within Russia can bring terminally nauseating results!”

We, as they say, “read you loud ‘n clear, sir!!”

Why did Mel Gibson, a devout Catholic, do this exceedingly evasive spin on the death of Litvinenko? Perhaps he thought someone might speak about these obvious connections?

Or perhaps, since Litvinenko performed a sudden and most likely a death-bed conversion to Islam, the translation from Russian homicidal policies to America’s corrupt “State Capitalism” seemed appropriate to Gibson.

The film gets my B+ rating, if only for the myriad questions it raises in my mind. It also introduced me to the most disarming new film personality I’ve seen in quite awhile: Bojana Novakovic as Gibson’s daughter, Emma. Hers is and all-too-brief and breathtakingly un-self-conscious appearance in a film filled with so much “serious acting.”

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