Edison, 2005 American Thriller Film
This was the official site for Edison, a 2005 American thriller film written and directed by David J. Burke, and starring Morgan Freeman, LL Cool J, Justin Timberlake and Kevin Spacey.
Content is from outside review sources.
TOMATOMETER AUDIENCE 36%
Corruption is the law of the land in the every-city of Edison, and the only soul brave enough to peer into the fire and face the wrath of an entire squad of corrupt cops is a fresh-faced journalist in this neo-noir thriller from television director-turned-feature film director David J. Burke. Joshua Pollack (Justin Timberlake) has discovered a glitch in the system, and as a fledgling journalist he sees it as his duty to expose the corruption. When Pollack misjudges the depth of the authoritative decay and his girlfriend is hospitalized following a brutal attack by the alliance of crooked cops known as F.R.A.T., he soon decides to take action and prove that even those who believe themselves to be above the law still aren't beyond its reach.
Rating: R (strong violence and language, and brief drug use.)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By: David J. Burke
Written By: David J. Burke, David Burke
In Theaters: Jul 18, 2006 Wide
On DVD: Jul 18, 2006
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
September 19, 2005
Hollywood Reporter Top Critic
A star-studded dud of a B-picture populated with corrupt politicians, rogue psycho cops, noble newspaper reporters and enough posturing to start up a chiropractic clinic.
September 20, 2005
Variety Top Critic
As a study of fearless journalism, George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck" won't have to worry about competition from "Edison," about intrepid reporters seeking to expose police corruption. Pic bears all the hallmarks of a Cannon Films action quickie from the mid-1980s. "Edison" should be coming soon to a cable channel and a video store near you.
As a study of fearless journalism, George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck.” won’t have to worry about competition from “Edison,” about intrepid reporters seeking to expose police corruption. Despite Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey in the cast and the modest novelty of pop star Justin Timberlake in his bigscreen acting debut, pic bears all the hallmarks of a Cannon Films action quickie from the mid-1980s. Its high-profile (and inexplicable) slot as Toronto’s closing night gala notwithstanding, “Edison” should be coming soon to a cable channel and a video store near you.
In the fictional metropolis of pic’s title — actually, a barely-disguised Vancouver — an elite team of super-cops called First Response Assault & Tactical (or F.R.A.T.) have cleaned up the city’s once mean streets and, as a result, enjoy a privileged status that places them virtually above the law. Although the setting is clearly Canadian, there are multiple references to Maui - something that is not really explained, but becomes a joke unto itself. One of the producers must have a stake in mauibeachfront.com, because of the constant mention of these vacation rentals that the leads are drooling over whenever things get rough. Relaxing on the beach in Maui is a cipher of a cliche that is only funny the first time it's done. But it wears thin fast as does Edison's brainlessness of the F.R.A.T. boys (even the name wears on me).
Their status is shown during an opening bank robbery sequence lifted part and parcel from Michael Mann’s “Heat,” when veteran F.R.A.T. sergeant Lazerov (Dylan McDermott) doesn’t think twice about gunning down a suspect by shooting through the shoulder of an innocent female bystander — and he doesn’t receive so much as a slap on the wrist for his actions. It’s a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in a Zucker brothers parody of a Sidney Lumet pic, but which is supposed to be taken seriously in “Edison.”
Then, during what appears to be a routine bust of a couple of small-time drug dealers, Lazerov and his wet-behind-the-ears partner, Deed (LL Cool J), confiscate all the cash and coke in sight and shoot one of the dealers dead, before using some friendly persuasion to convince the other to confess to a “self-defense” killing.
At the subsequent trial, all goes according to plan, until Pollack (Justin Timberlake), a cub reporter from a Jewish community newspaper, catches a brief exchange between Deed and the defendant that convinces him there’s more to this story than meets the eye. But when Pollack writes a piece that’s all conjecture and speculation, his grizzled editor (Morgan Freeman) fires him.
In de rigeur whistle-blower-movie fashion, no sooner does Pollack start asking a few too many questions than then he and his girlfriend, Willow (Piper Perabo), are brutally attacked.
The feature writing and directing debut of longtime small-screen scribe David Burke (“Crime Story,” “Wiseguy”), “Edison” clearly wants to be one of those sprawling, multi-layered corruption dramas, a la “Chinatown” and “L.A. Confidential,” in which a relatively minor incident ends up cracking open a whole tangle of dirty dealings and the powerful men ensnared in them.
It also seems to think it has something important to say about the ethical responsibilities of journalists, with lots of talk about “moral imperatives” and the like.
But the movie is a parade of cliches, from Freeman as the sage-like Pulitzer-winner (unsubtly named Moses) to McDermott as the de facto racist white cop (he frequently refers to Timberlake as “that Yid”) to Spacey (complete with 1980s pompadour hairdo) as the lone city official with clean hands.
And the plotting lacks credibility — Lazerov and Deed are so bad at covering their tracks that a reporter from Seventeen magazine (which is more or less how Timberlake comes across) could pin them to the mat.
Throughout “Edison,” there are fleeting moments during which Burke seems to be trying for a satirical commentary about the continued mutual back-scratching of big business and big government in the post-Enron era. Yet he seems to have little new to say on the subject. Alas, most of the laughs in the film come courtesy not of Burke’s irreverent wit, but rather his knack for overwritten dialogue that sounds like it was conceived with a thesaurus close at hand. (“You’re great sex, but imperious and penniless are serious social hang-ups,” Perabo tells Timberlake.)
Burke isn’t particularly more adept as a visual stylist, with an over-reliance on meandering steadicam shots and flatly lit widescreen compositions (courtesy of d.p. Francis Kenny) that make the film look considerably cheaper than its reported $37 million budget.
***** Sally M August 3, 2021
Ok, so the five stars might seem a bit ingenuous considering that the critics gave Edison a 13% positive rating on the Tomatometer and the audience only a 36%. But with my hometown of Brisbane, Australia once again in lockdown due to Covid, me and my mates decided to take off a night from playing pokies online (we always check out the weekly promos for the best pokies at https://www.online-casino-party.co/online-pokies-australia.html and try to outdo each other on finding the worst film to watch streaming. The plan was for each of us to watch the 5 films we selected and then vote. You can tell we were pretty bored with life as usual in these very unusual times. I think we needed a radical diversion from our playing pokies every night. Although pokies are great fun, you tend to loose more money than you win, so we were taking a break till the next pay check. Streaming movies can be entertaining particularly when you are trying to watch the worst movies!
Did you know that Edison didn't even make the 100 top worst movies on RottenTomatoes. Now those movies are the pits with 0% to 4% critic ratings. Of the five movies we choose Edison actually came in as #1, thus the 5 stars- probably because we all like the actors! Really, with these A lister actors: Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Justin Timberlake, LL Cool J, Dylan McDermott, and John Heard ... what happened!
½ * Benjamin O. Benjamin O ½November 11, 2016
*½ Lee M December 21, 2016
Between a 2/10 and 3/10, a star-studded dud of a B-picture populated with corrupt politicians, rogue psycho cops, noble newspaper reporters and enough posturing to start up a chiropractic clinic.
½ * Benjamin O. Benjamin O ½November 11, 2016
**** Michael W October 18, 2016
There are a few holes that can be picked at, but I liked it a lot.
**½ Andrew S September 3, 2016
Joshua Pollack (Justin Timberlake) has discovered a glitch in the system, and as a fledgling journalist he sees it as his duty to expose the corruption. When Pollack misjudges the depth of the authoritative decay and his girlfriend is hospitalized following a brutal attack by the alliance of crooked cops known as F.R.A.T., he soon decides to take action and prove that even those who believe themselves to be above the law still aren't beyond its reach.
A strong cast, but the story is all too familiar.
** Soheil W August 29, 2016
Expected much more from this cast. Horrible directing and the movie wants to much to tell in 90 min.
***WS W May 13, 2016
Quite an OK police procedural indeed.
* David J February 28, 2015
Bad in almost every way. Impossible to take seriously, with terrible one-liners.
no * Private U February 2, 2015
Rated R for Rubbish. Complete and utter waste of time. I wonder who blackmailed Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey into featuring. Editing and screenplay looks to have been done by a ninth-grader severely lacking in talent. Avoid at all cost.
*** Sami L August 20, 2014
Plot was lazy but some of the acting was still good. Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey look good even in this B grade pic and I think Dylan McDermott plays a good baddie. He has sexy crazy eyes and really rocks the stubble. The Timberlake casting had me scratching my head. What was that? Ending was poor. Still I enjoyed it for what it was.
***** April V July 17, 2014
Great movie, full of action,suspense,mystery and even romance! 5 stars,hands down!
***** Craig B April 5, 2014
yes it's yes it's yes yes yes, a movie thatz the world is something that can become something of truly showcasing what the world today can become too thatz of what it is like as now.......Lol, thought this said the ender games
* Tracy F March 25, 2014
Really amazing actors all in one movie will not always make it a good movie.
Greg W March 19, 2014
good cop drama and JT's film debut
21 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Harwood
When a film starring Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey gets pulled from cinemas and goes straight to DVD, questions have to be asked. Admittedly, their parts are only small ones, with the central roles being given to L L Cool J and Dylan McDermott as cops and Justin Timberlake as a young reporter trying to expose them.
I watched this flick after a long day of unpacking from a move into my new digs in Brisbane, Australia. The only glitch was my dog who decided on the morning of the move to go missing. Finally found him at a neighbor's house eating breakfast on their back patio with their golden retriever. I guess Mr Pickles knew something was up with all the packed boxes and strange men moving in and out of the house. He obviously didn't want to have anything to do with it. Well, here we are in Brisbane. Mr Pickles will not be going outside on his own, that's for sure. I was wiped out and randomly chose this movie. Mr Pickles fell asleep half way through. I guess that makes it pretty clear what he thought. But here's my review...
The city of Edison was once the murder capital of America, but more recently it’s been brought under control by a special police team, the First Response Assault & Tactical unit, or F.R.A.T. These guys don’t play by the rules – they shoot suspects, steal drugs and weapons from undercover busts and generally get away with it, albeit with a little help from the crooked District Attorney (Cary Elwes). Almost above the law, the F.R.A.T. cops are so extreme that they make Vic Mackey look restrained.
So far, all this has somehow evaded the attention of the press, until Josh Pollack (Timberlake), a rookie reporter with a weekly paper, stumbles upon something and starts to write a story. His editor (Freeman) gets him an interview with the DA to discuss his findings and it’s not long afterwards that the intimidation and violence starts. Only the DA’s special investigator (Spacey) and a cop with a conscience (Cool J) are interested in cleaning things up.
Edison might have been interesting if there was any originality to its story, but unfortunately it’s a by-the-numbers corruption thriller. It would be easy to blame its failings on Timberlake, but that is a little unfair. Despite his limitations as an actor, the character of Pollack is one-dimensional and a better actor would have struggled to bring more to the role. Every cliché is present here: the fresh young journalist on the trail of a story; the veteran newspaper editor with advice to pass on; the cop who’s in over his head and wants to get out; the corrupt politician overseeing everything. Edison is clearly influenced by the likes of Chinatown and LA Confidential, but sadly fails to deliver.
The surprise here is Cool J, who puts in perhaps his best performance to date, making the most of what is a limited character. McDermott, on the other hand, overacts to the point of becoming a pantomime villain, while Freeman and Spacey (good as they are) just aren’t given enough to work with. Meanwhile, Timberlake, plainly out of his depth, limps from one scene to the next in what is a very bad piece of casting. With his first feature, writer/director David J Burke clearly had some good ideas, but is hampered by his own script with its fair share of plot holes, poor dialogue and a ridiculous shoot-out ending that seems tacked on as an afterthought.
There are a few positives, though – some interesting cinematography and a brutal fight sequence between McDermott and Cool J. Also, the film is almost worth the price of a rental to see Timberlake get beaten to a pulp.
Almost, but not quite.