With David Mamet's terse dialogue and Lee Tamahori's superior direction, it's easy to ignore the flaws and be happily riveted by a good man determined to triumph over the adversity thrown at him by man and nature.

THE EDGE

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


"The Edge" is a real gripper, a white-knuckle ride through the Canadian wilderness with two men and a bear that is elevated to a character study by the amazing Anthony Hopkins. There will be times when you come close to jumping into the lap of your neighbor for protection, times when some glaring silliness jolts you back to reality, but it's hard not to love this movie.

Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) is celebrating his birthday by taking a small entourage to a remote hunting lodge for a vacation/photo shoot. His wife, Mickey (Elle Macpherson), and fashion photographer Bob Green (Alec Baldwin), who may or may not be sleeping with Mickey, complete the triangle, though it's anybody's guess why two bright men would struggle for the loyalty of--in somebody's great wordplay image--the mannequin Mickey Morse.

When Bob decides his photo shoot needs the face of an Indian who lives an hour's flight north, he and Charles board a single- engine pontoon plane that promptly inhales a gaggle of birds and crashes into the frigid water. The crash is filmed with such inventive pizzazz that the audience is hooked for good. From now on, it's Charles and Bob trying to stay alive until the inevitable rescue--or does Bob want to return alone to claim Charles's wife?

Rationally speaking, there are flaws: both men, soaking wet, would have been dead by nightfall in the Arctic cold; both men would have been eaten by the bear; and to make things worse, Charles and Bob appear suddenly against the snow in newly stitched bearskin jackets that elicit a howl of laughter from the audience. Why then, does the movie work so well? Answer: Anthony Hopkins.

Hopkins's Charles is a compulsive learner who extracts lessons from everything he sees and stores that knowledge in his mental data bank. Watching Charles think his way out of trouble with the observations he has made during his life is a show in itself. With an apparently infinite ability to surprise, Hopkins makes Charles a fascinating man. There is probably no actor in the world as capable of building a unique character, layer by layer. We have not met Charles Morse before.

Alec Baldwin holds his own as the shallow guy whose admiration for his companion battles with his need to get rid of him. Although Bart the Bear is an accomplished player, he steals from the tension between the two men. One encounter with Bart would have done it; the guys, after all, had quite enough on their hands before he arrived.

With David Mamet's terse dialogue and Lee Tamahori's superior direction, it's easy to ignore the flaws and be happily riveted by a good man determined to triumph over the adversity thrown at him by man and nature. How many action heroes have you seen who hold your attention with nuance of character? Rarely has it been more fun to suspend reason.


Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 490
Studio : 20th Century Fox
Rating : R
Running Time: 2h0m


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