The Edge

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

Lee Tamahori and David Mamet have breathed new life into the wilderness adventure genre with "The Edge." It's an intelligent film with clever dialogue from writer Mamet and direction from Tamahori that elicits both gasps and the occasional belly laugh in just the right places. They're aided and abetted by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin who deliver performances that are intensely convincing AND fun.

Hopkins plays a bookworm billionaire who knows everything about everything. He has the distracted air of an absent-minded professor, but it masks a keen intellect that misses nothing. Sandpaper-voiced and oozing charm, Baldwin plays a fashion photographer who might be exposing more than just film to Hopkins' supermodel wife, Elle McPherson. Is he also planning homicide? Or is Hopkins suffering a bout of paranoia brought on by an embarrassment of riches?

After arriving at a remote mountain lodge for a fashion shoot, Baldwin and Hopkins, for rather whimsical reasons, decide to fly even further into the wilderness. They take to the air in a jaunty red seaplane that crashes after running afoul of a flock of terns. It may sound silly, but believe me, several pounds of pureed bird is not a pretty sight, never mind what it does to a small plane's engine. Once on the ground, the guys have to contend with a lack of food, shelter, and the knowledge that no one will come looking for them. They'll need to walk back to civilization on their own. O, and there's a killer bear after them.

The great thing about this movie is watching the relationship grow between the pushy, frenetic Baldwin and the logical, unflappable Hopkins. As Baldwin splutters and crumples, Hopkins sets about outsmarting the wilderness in an orderly fashion, even coming up with an ingenious plan to kill the bear without using guns. These guys are the odd couple of the great white north.

"The Edge" may play fast and loose with a few technical details, but it's so well done, teetering between tragedy and farce, that even if you're a wilderness survival buff, you won't mind a bit.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 9/24/97

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