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.

    • 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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