Now on Blu-Ray as of May 11, 2010
“The Edge” was originally released in 1997 and is now being treated in the high-definition Blu-Ray style we are becoming accustomed to. It was directed by Lee Tamahori who later went on to more action-y films like “Die Another Day” and “xXx: State of the Union.” It was written by David Mamet, brilliant playwright and screenwriter who also wrote “Glengarry Glen Ross” five years earlier featuring Alec Baldwin. The story is that of billionaire Charles Morse played by Anthony Hopkins coming with his model wife Mickey Morse played by Elle Macpherson to Alaska for a photo shoot with photographer Bob Green played by Alec Baldwin and his assistant Stephen played by Harold Perrineau (whom you might know now as Michael from “LOST”). When the men go off in a plane in search of that perfect shot, it crashes and they are forced to struggle to survive in the wilderness over 80 miles from where they began lost in the woods.
What this movie has works in spades. First you have the location which is perfect. Then there is the writing and development of two main characters whose layers peel away like an onion when put to the test in survival mode. The direction and chosen camera angles build up the suspense in an amazing way. There are close-ups and angles used where you can only see one character in the shot and you are convinced that something is going to come up behind them or the person they are talking to any second. Most of the time it doesn’t, but when it does….WOW!
Having Anthony Hopkins’ stony disposition at the forefront gives an aura of experience hardly any man can match and Alec Baldwin looks almost foolish occasionally by comparison. Hopkins has a gift for being mysterious and eccentric while flashing the slightest of occasional smiles to appear human (or creepy). The character Charles is a genius of sorts picking up facts wherever he goes and retaining them, and claims to hardly ever put them to use. He is put to the test here in the ultimate survival situation in the middle of nowhere dealing with injuries, a giant bear, weather, and the men in his company losing their cool. There is particular tension between Charles and Bob over a woman.
Alec Baldwin attempts to pull out all the stops by cracking jokes, having a mental breakdown, and oozing tears in moments of ultimate weakness. He achieves what he was going for because that’s what he appears — weak. Charles on the other hand despite all manner of challenges never fails to lose his cool and stoically plots out plans of action logically with little emotion and treats it all as a puzzle to solve instead of despairing.
Bart the Bear gives one of the best animal performances EVER in this film. He’s one of the biggest bears I have ever seen in my life and absolutely terrifying to behold. He has such a presence in this film that he gets fifth billing and he earned it. As a psycho maneater bear, I was awestruck by his imposing size and determination to run after those men for dinner.
The scenery in the Alaskan wilderness is breathtakingly beautiful even when the wandering survivors are exhausted and at the brink of starvation, the mountains will catch your eye and you’ll wish you could be there in that moment to experience the majesty. The plot of the movie is thrilling and suspenseful but with the added bonus of the atmosphere tagged on, this film goes to a whole other level of enjoyment captivating the senses.
Some trailers for Broken Arrow and other films you’ve forgotten about that will undoubtedly be released on Blu-Ray soon. Very surprising that they couldn’t find SOMETHING to put on here for the new storage capacity. There must be reliance on picture quality alone for people to go out and pick this copy up.
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