A man (Macy) becomes involved in a twisted game of sex, lies and murder with 3 young women (Denise Richards, Mena Suvari, Julia Stiles). Its a first rate thriller from the legendary David Mamet.
William H. Macy, a longtime collaborator of David Mamet, takes on one of Mamet's biggest, ugliest creations in the title role of Edmond
. Edmond drops out of his ordinary life after a chance encounter with a fortune-teller, and cruises through a New York inferno that leads to murder. It also leads to a great deal of the clipped, counter-punching dialogue that Mamet is famous for, although at times the film plays like a monologue interrupted by peripheral blips on Edmond's skewed radar. Mamet's subject is the frenzied reaction of the modern male to the narrowing of his domain, a crisis that drives Edmond to the familiar touchstones of bar, peep show, and whorehouse, none of which provide the solace he thinks they should. The 2005 film is based on Mamet's 1982 play, and somehow the picture might have had more pop if it had been filmed closer to that time, when panicked masculinity was a fresher subject. And the text is a kind of dark, horrific fable that probably worked better in the stylized realm of the stage than on film. Stuart Gordon directs with a blunt forward motion that foregrounds the most unsavory aspects of the material (fans of his Re-Animator
should note the presence of Jeffrey Combs as a snotty hotel clerk). Except for Macy, cast members come and go in the episodic flow, some of them (Joe Mantegna and Rebecca Pidgeon) identified with Mamet's work. Julia Stiles plays the unfortunate waitress who falls into Edmond's path, and Bai Ling, Denise Richards, and Mena Suvari are women of the night who want to charge Edmond too much money. But it's Macy's show, and he mercilessly gets inside Edmond's bad self: a monster of entitlement and self-delusion, given to epiphanies that lead nowhere except his own ego. --Robert Horton