The Edge

Year: 1997
Director: Lee Tamahori

Summary: A billionaire and two other men are stranded, unequipped, by a plane crash in a dangerous wilderness. How many will survive to be rescued?

Times Watched: 3

My Experience: I’m a sucker for David Mamet’s dialogue but not for his directing. Thankfully, someone else took this script and created a brutal, intense movie. I love it more than most so I’ll explain that.

For starters, Hopkins and Baldwin are at the top of their games and have exceptional chemistry. I believe they both hate and admire each other at the same time, and the dialogue–fraught with double meaning–is delivered with perfect pitch.

There is a weird dichotomy in the movie, which simultaneously presents itself as a suspense thriller and a satire of the genre at the same time. Mamet is smart enough that I assume it was intentional. The bear is ridiculously one-dimensional like a slasher villain. The brother dies first. A fairly contrived Mcguffin jump starts the plot.

I find all that fun, and when tempers flare (or the bear flares), I get chills. It helps that Jerry Goldsmith’s musical score hits all the right notes. If that name rings a bell, he composed most of the music for most of the Star Trek series.

Beyond that, I feel The Edge has the perfect ending. It’s perfect because we anticipate an intense moment between two characters, and it occurs, but without a single line of dialogue. Mamet, whose known for his verbosity, reels it back at just the right time.

4 thoughts on “The Edge”

  1. Mamet is a weirdo, but a lyrical genius. I love acting in his works (others hate it; there’s no middle ground. He is famously difficult to memorize, because he actually puts in “um” and stuttering). I like this as much as you do. It’s an action movie for smart people, and they don’t make very many of those, because Joe Dingus won’t understand them.

    1. This is as good a time as any to say that this movie didn’t do a whole lot for me. I like scenes, I love the cinematography, and I like the writing… but as a whole, I dunno.

      I may have been in the wrong mood to watch this movie when I did, and whenever I see it on TV when I’m flipping channels, I’m not inclined to rectify my mistake.

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