Edge of Darkness

  • Directors: Martin Campbell
  • Producers: Graham King, Tim Headington, Michael Wearing
  • Writers: Screenplay, William Monahan, Andrew Bovell, Television series, Troy Kennedy Martin
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic

As homicide detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) investigates the death of his activist daughter (Bojana Novakovic), he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence…

Body of Lies

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Donald De Line
  • Writers: Novel, David Ignatius, Screenplay, William Monahan
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Golshifteh Farahani, Vince Colosimo, Mark Strong

Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) is a CIA operations officer. He is in Iraq trying to track down a terrorist called Al-Saleem. While following a lead, Ferris’s asset (who he has become good friends with) is killed during a car chase involving terrorists, rocket-propelled grenades and two missile-firing U.S. helicopters. Ferris recovers from his injuries at a U.S. facility in Qatar before he is sent to Jordan to run down some intelligence he recovered in Iraq. Meanwhile, unknown terrorists plan to follow up an offscreen series of bus bombings in Sheffield, with more attacks in Manchester but blow themselves up when the police find their cell. Later, another terrorist undertakes a cell phone-triggered bombing in an Amsterdam flower market that kills at least 75 people.

Ferris’ handler, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), keeps tabs on Ferris via a Sikorsky Cypher UAV. Towards the start of the movie, Hoffman speaks to his CIA superiors. He explains to them how terrorists are turning their back on technology by throwing away their phones and computers and using old methods of communicating face-to-face and with written messages. Because of this, the terrorists are very hard to track.

In Jordan, Ferris tosses the ineffectual Station Chief out of his office before he meets Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), head of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID) who tells Ferris to never lie to him. Hoffman finds an Al-Saleem safehouse in Jordan and tells Ferris to conduct a surveillance operation on it. However, Hoffman organises another CIA operative Skip (Vince Colosimo) to conduct an operation without Ferris’ consent. The other agent screws the operation up and blows his cover after saying something compromising to a terrorist from the safehouse. The terrorist takes off running, intent on relaying information that the safehouse is being watched. Ferris chases him down and kills him by stabbing him, getting bitten by dogs in the process. Hani covers up the killing by passing it off as a robbery and Ferris accuses Hoffman of running “side operations”, telling Hoffman to lay off.

In the end Hoffman offers Ferris a job in his office, but Ferris declines and tells Hoffman that he quits the CIA. Hoffman prepares to leave Jordan and resigns himself to Ferris not changing his mind. At the movie’s end, Ferris seemingly decides to not contact Aisha therein refuting what Hoffman had repeated numerous times through the movie: no one is innocent. However Ferris is seen in the market buying pastries, in a box similar to that which he had taken to Aisha’s and it is left to the viewer to decide whether he leaves her to live her life or becomes involved with her once again.

Kingdom of Heaven

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott
  • Writers: William Monahan
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, History
  • Actors: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Edward Norton, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud

(This summary refers to the Director’s Cut)

In a remote village in France, Balian, a blacksmith, is haunted by his wife’s recent suicide, following the stillbirth of their child. A group of Crusaders arrive at the small village and one of them approaches Balian, introducing himself as his out-of-wedlock father, Baron Godfrey of Ibelin. Godfrey, having learned of Balian’s recent losses, attempts to persuade Balian to join him as they travel to Jerusalem, in the hope he will eventually take his place as Godfrey’s heir. Balian quickly refuses, and, after resupplying and resting, the Crusaders ride on. Shortly afterwards, the corrupt town priest (Balian’s half-brother) reveals that his wife’s body was beheaded before burial (a customary practice in those times for people who committed suicide, to ensure the soul cannot enter heaven) and he has taken the crucifix she wore. Enraged at these insults, Balian slays the priest with the sword he is working on and takes the crucifix necklace his dead wife once wore. Balian quickly decides to follow his father after all, in the hope of gaining redemption and forgiveness for both his wife and himself. Shortly after he catches up to his father, soldiers from the village arrive to arrest Balian (the leader is Godfrey’s nephew). Godfrey refuses to hand him over and, though they win the ensuing fight, most of Godfrey’s band are killed. Godfrey himself is wounded by an arrow and, though he is not killed outright, it becomes clear as their journey continues that he will soon die.

After visiting the grave of Balian’s first wife, he and Sibylla ride into the sunset. An explanation is given that King Richard failed in his Crusade, negotiated a shaky truce with Saladin after three years of war, and that “nearly a thousand years later, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive.”

The Departed

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Brad Grey, Graham King, Brad Pitt
  • Writers: Original Screenplay, William Monahan, 2002 Screenplay, Felix Chong, Alan Mak
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin

The film begins in South Boston and Charlestown, where Irish mob boss Francis “Frank” Costello (Nicholson) beguiles a young neighborhood boy named Colin Sullivan (Conor Donovan), who enters into Costello’s criminal underground at a young age. Years later, Colin (now played by Damon) completes his training for the Massachusetts State Police, graduating as a state trooper. Colin, who quickly distinguishes himself, is assigned to the Special Investigations Unit (“SIU”) of the State Police by SIU’s Captain Oliver Queenan (Sheen) and Staff Sergeant Bryce Dignam (Wahlberg). However, Colin’s expressed intent is to serve as a double agent for Costello within the police force.

In another State Police training program is William “Billy” Costigan Jr. (DiCaprio). After his graduation, Queenan and Dignam interview Billy, convinced that his family ties with the Boston underworld make Billy unsuitable for anything other than undercover work. Billy agrees to work for Queenan and Dignam’s undercover division of SIU and become a mole in Costello’s crime family. To make his new identity believable, SIU creates a false assault conviction for Billy; he serves a jail sentence, is placed on probation, and attends mandatory psychiatry sessions. Billy’s police academy record and file are concealed from the department, leaving only Queenan and Dignam with any knowledge of his true identity. In the meantime, Billy’s relationship with his psychiatrist and Colin’s girlfriend, Madolyn Madden, also deepens and the two eventually sleep together.

After attending Billy’s funeral, Colin returns home to find Dignam waiting in his apartment. Dignam, knowing of Colin’s treachery and escape from punishment, shoots him through the head with a suppressed pistol, then exits the apartment. The film ends with a lone rat crawling on the apartment’s balcony railing, which frames the gold dome of the Massachusetts State House in the background.