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The Edge

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Edge

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin
Director: Lee Tamahori
Rated: R
RunTime: 117 Minutes
Release Date: September 1997
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense


*Also starring: Elle MacPherson, L.Q. Jones, Kathleen Wilhoite, Harold Perrineau Jr., David Lindstedt



Review by MrBrown
2 stars out of 4

Following test screenings, the title of Lee Tamahori's survival-in-the-wilds thriller Bookworm was changed to the presumably more slam-bang The Edge. However, this is a case where the original title should have remained, for the staid-sounding Bookworm is a more apt moniker for this unexciting adventure yarn.

Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Charles Morse, the bookworm of the original title, a billionaire who has acquired a wealth of knowledge from the reading of numerous books. The film begins with Charles arriving in Alaska with his much younger model wife, Mickey (Elle Macpherson, displaying all the depth of a fashion plate)--yes, her name is _Mickey_Morse_--and ace fashion photographer Robert Green (Alec Baldwin) for a shoot. Screenwriter David Mamet's creaky plot machinations can be heard early on with the very weak setup for the wilderness action: determined to locate a particularly photogenic local to join Mickey for the shoot, Robert, with trusty assistant Stephen (Harold Parrineau) and Charles along for the ride, leaves the cushy cabin lodgings on a plane, which promptly crashes in the middle of nowhere. Can these three survive on their own in the Alaskan wilderness, with a very hungry bear on their trail?

Actually, the question is really if these _two_ can survive, since it's thunderingly obvious that Stephen won't be around for long because (1) the tension brewing between Charles and Robert over Mickey has to take center stage sooner or later, and (2) Stephen is African-American. And the answer, of course, is a big yes since Charles has learned volumes of survival know-how from books--we see him make a compass using a paper clip and a leaf in water as well as recite a particularly clever formula for making fire from ice. Before long, we get the point: it takes brains, not necessarily brawn, to survive in the wild. But Mamet and Tamahori keep on pounding that point into the audience's heads as if we were an opponent needing to be pummeled into submission.

Tamahori does bring The Edge to life during some spectacular bear attack sequences. This may sound a little silly, but Bart the Bear delivers the film's most memorable performance as Charles and Robert's (and, for a while, Stephen's) bloodthirsty stalker; big, brown, and very, very intimidating, he gives his scenes an electrifying jolt of energy. Unfortunately, the bear is not the focus of the film; the Charles-Robert conflict is, and once the bear situation has come to a head, all that follows cannot help but feel a bit a dull by comparison. This would not have been as big of a problem if the Charles-Robert conflict came to a moderately satisfying, halfway exciting conclusion, but, not so surprisingly, everything ends with a whimper.

Which leaves the audience wondering--what exactly does the title mean? The edge of sanity? The edge of the world? Perhaps one, perhaps the other, perhaps both, but all I know is that by the time The Edge was over, I was at the edge of my patience.

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