This is a wonderful film that will keep the viewer totally absorbed. Written by the tremendously talented David Mamet (The House of Games, Oleanna), it is beautifully directed by the noted director Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, Along Came a Spider). The film is a complex, fully fleshed story covering many themes, fully realized by a stellar cast. It also provides the viewer with breathtaking cinematography, as well as a compelling score written by Academy Award winner Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen).
The film focuses an a mild mannered, self-effacing, slightly paranoid billionaire, Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins). A brilliant and well-read man with a penchant for esoteric knowledge, Morse is married to Mickey (Elle MacPherson), a young and beautiful, successful model. On location with her in a remote area of Alaska, she is surrounded by her young, fun loving camera crew, while he is seemingly the odd man out. He is astute enough, however, to sense that there are romantic undercurrents between his wife and her photographer, Robert Green (Alec Baldwin).
When Morse accompanies Robert on what was to be a short excursion into the Alaskan wilderness, looking for a local hunter to pose in the photo shoot, disaster looms ahead, and the test for the survival of the fittest begins. It is here that the superior mind and knowledge of Morse is put to the test, as they find themselves pitted against nature. Morse rises to the occasion, emerging as a natural leader, while his younger, fitter rival, Robert, is often at a loss as to how to cope in their peculiar situation. It is also through the emerging and changing conditions that they face, that their respective characters emerge. It is in the wilderness that they are both unmasked and emerge as their true selves.
This is a film that will keep the viewer enthralled. Anthony Hopkins has never been better as the quietly heroic Morse, and Alec Baldwin is excellent as the craven and duplicitous photographer who has cuckolded him. Elle MacPherson is luminous as the beautiful, young, trophy wife. The rest of the supporting cast, including the giant Kodiac bear, are also terrific. This is a superlative survival story that has something for everyone. Bravo!
on June 26, 2003
The score, photography, direction, screenplay and the marvelous interaction between Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins all deserve high praise. It says much for the power of Baldwin and Hopkin's performances that the magnificent bear, Big Bart, did not steal every scene in which he appeared.
Billionaire intellectual, mildly paranoid Hopkins accompanies his trophy wife played by super model Elle MacPherson to a photo shoot in the Alaskan wilderness. The always faintly menacing Alec Baldwin is a trendy, sophisticated fashion photographer who has more than a passing interest in Ms. MacPherson. Hopkins reluctantly agrees to accompany Baldwin on a search for an elusive native trapper who Baldwin thinks will be an ideal photo subject. The plane goes down (in a jarringly effective scene). Three survive, but on their first night the weakest of their party is horrifyingly mauled and taken away by a giant Kodiak bear. Baldwin and Hopkins must make their way out of the wilderness with the terrifying knowledge that the bear is stalking them. Hopkins is a wonderfully effective survivor and Baldwin shows a toughness and perseverance that belies his sophisticated image. Will the bear triumph? Will they get out alive? Are Baldwin and Hopkins ultimately partners or deadly adversaries?
Thanks to David Mamet, the screenplay has depth and is probably full of deeper meanings that whizzed right by me. Lee Tamahori's fine direction lifted the film from a merely grand adventure saga to an absorbing study of two men and their inner beings. The script or the interactions never bored me. There is one fine scene setup that alone was worth the price of admission to me. Hopkins and Baldwin are peering over a fallen log desperately trying to ascertain the location of the bear. Only their upper faces are showing. Hopkins china blue eyes display enormous depth and intelligence while Baldwin's icy blues convey complete kill or be killed intensity. I think reviewers have been unjust to Ms. MacPherson's contribution. I believe she delivered just what she was supposed to: a beauty who was graceful, charming and perhaps a little shallow.
This film is about as perfect as it can be. The only flaw is a very disappointing DVD with no extras. Hopefully, another edition will come out. Anthony Hopkins is always marvelously articulate about his roles; it would be a treat to hear a few words from him. Outtakes on Big Bart's scenes would be priceless. I advise waiting for new edition before purchasing the DVD, but by all means, rent this one! In spite of its totally unimaginative title, it is one of the great films of the decade.
on November 2, 2003
The Edge is a very much underrated film that sadly did not get the proper recognition it deserves, for it is an above average multi-layered movie that works very well on many levels, all equally well written and directed.
New Zealander Lee Tamahori, with the excellent Once We Were Warriors to his name,and writer David Mamet manage to make a movie that offers much more than its genre might suggests, both on the drama and thriller levels.
First there is the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness, spaces so vast they are equally inviting and menacing.A Napoleon general, lamenting the disaster that befell the French army once said: 'The vasteness of Russia devours us'. In the Edge you will too get the impression that the beauty of this untamed nature can also devour: break the bodies and souls of our heroes, Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, both offering their most underrated acting best.
Three men are lost in the middle of a wilderness after their plane crash.The hope for an early return/rescue is dashed by the misleading spaces and a huge and determined Kodiak bear.One man, played by Harry Perrineau gets to know first hand about this determination,leaving Hopkins and Baldwin, bewildered, and weary,to try and escape with their lives.
This is when the film really starts. It becomes a journey of incredible hardship that will strip both men of their 'social' selves and replace it with the need to survive that will take them to the 'Edge' of endurance on one hand, and the depths of their own souls on the other. The animosities, tension and grudges that laid hidden between the two men emerge as a powerful and consistent force that mark their relationship from then on.
David Mamet has managed to write the 'Edge' that any human being can face whether lost in an unforgiving wilderness or anywhere else for that matter.It is simply how human beings change,and how social niceties is slowly eroded when the need to survive becomes the single driving force. This is a fine piece of writing!
Of course there is the thriller angle in the film..the bear, the master and primary predator of its environment,chasing two men that have been stripped from all the power and control they once possessed and taken for granted.
The direction and cinematography of these scenes are of top quality.
So if you want to watch gorgeous scenery, be scared of this huge and beautiful animal,or witness the changes incredible circumstances that trigger in men, then the Edge is the film for you eyes and mind, a journey that can easily be revisited in the safety of your own home.
on March 3, 2002
All said and done, this is a good movie, albeit one that may take a couple viewings to really get the message. For me, "The Edge" is what Charles (Anthony Hopkins) is on, emotionally and spiritually. The isolationism of a privileged life, the seperation between Charles and Bob (Alec Baldwin) because of it. The freedom of this lifestyle has allowed Charles time to fill up on seemingly trivial and theoretical knowledge - until the time of testing comes. And its not just a "survival movie" in terms of battling the elements and scene-stealing grizzly bears. Its about surviving yourself, how you've lived your life and the decisions you've made in the past which have put you where you are now. Sub-plots about the wife being in cahoots with Bob to kill Charles are really only secondary to the true story line - which is all, in fact, about Charles. In the end, his life WAS saved, although not just physically. And this, I believe, is the true purport of this film. We may all want to be put to the test in some way, but it may not always come in the way, or the time of our choosing. A thought provoking film whose tenents can be applied in any situation.
on July 24, 2002
As character portraits go, this movie is a tour de force. The plot may be predictable, but the character drawn by Anthony Hopkins is masterful. A likeable, if self-effacing, intellectual in the beginning of the movie, Hopkins finds himself and learns that his true riches reside within himself. We see his bravado grow into genuine confidence as he comes to recognize that his resourcefulness really is unique. Shedding unnecessary layers of his life along the way, Hopkins walks out of the wilderness of Alaska and the wilderness of his self. He emerges as a transformed version of himself, having added wisdom to knowledge and courage to assurance while retaining the basic decency that characterized him from the beginning.
Alex Baldwin's portrait of Robert, the photographer, is equally competent. It is not possible to admire his character, but one must applaud his portrayal.
The supporting roles are at least adequate, and in some cases, more than adequate, but the real standouts are Hopkins, Baldwin, and the wonderful wilderness scenery.
This review would not be complete without naming a favorite scene in the film: near the end, Hopkins disembarks from the rescue helicopter and receives recognition and acknowledgement from two backwoodmen in the form of a subtle nod. Very nice!
on March 30, 2012
This was my first Blu-Ray purchase, because I was so tired of watching the old non-anamorphic DVD. The improvement in A/V quality is dramatic here, and a movie like "The Edge" deserves support for its crisp scenery and stunning landscapes. While it's a shame that no extras could be created for this Blu-Ray, I'm content just to finally view a quality presentation of it. Having seen the movie originally in theaters, it reproduced the experience quite well.
Oh, and obviously the movie itself is top-notch. Good, escapist entertainment and strong performances.
And, of course, a giant, man-killing bear.
on November 25, 2002
David Mamet and Lee Tamahori have delivered one of the great films in recent memory. Released in 1997 by Twentieth Century Fox, The Edge provides enjoyment at every level. Tamahori's rich, visceral directing drives a genuinely suspenseful story, and Mamet's screenplay is simply brilliant. Far from just another wilderness film, writer and director form a true collaboration that depicts a smart, sophisticated look into the reasoning mind and the nature of man's faculty for survival.
Equally impressive to the writing and directing is the casting in this film. Anthony Hopkins plays billionaire Charles Morse, who has embarked on a retreat to the Alaskan wilderness with a small entourage. The entourage consists of Morse's wife, a fashion model, and her photo-shoot team, including photographer Robert Green (played by Alex Baldwin). True to form, Hopkins captures the cerebral, mildly paranoid Morse perfectly, and Baldwin (perhaps typecast) shines as a myopic, range-of-the-moment thinker with clear envy of Morse and obvious designs on Morse's wife.
There is some mild character development as the entourage settles into the lodge at which they are staying, but these scenes serve mostly as a backdrop for the important scenes and themes that follow. Of particular note in the early scenes, however, is a brief exchange between Morse and John Styles, the lodge owner played by L.Q. Jones. The exchange involves a test of Morse's prodigious "book" knowledge, wherein Morse wins a bet put to him by telling Styles what image is depicted on the flip side of a Cree Indian canoe paddle. On the side shown to Morse is a panther, and Morse calmly recites that the rabbit smoking a pipe on the alternate side is a metaphor. When pressed for details, Morse states that the rabbit is smoking a pipe because he is unafraid: "The rabbit is unafraid because he is smarter than the panther." This brief exchange serves as wonderful foreshadowing for the events ahead.
The plot really gets underway when Green learns that a second model will not join the entourage. To salvage the photo-shoot, Green wants to include a native who he believes will give him a "truly non self-conscious photograph." Green convinces Morse to accompany him, and a small group sets out on a plane ride in search for this native. What follows is one of the great examples in film of man as a rational survivor.
Without giving too much away, circumstances force Morse to apply his theoretical knowledge and employ his rational faculties or face non-existence. He does this despite numerous setbacks and circumstances that might drive lesser men to despair. Morse is at once cool and collected and at the same time clearly struggling to remain so. In short, he is an incredibly believable hero. Couple this with an intentional absence of wooden speeches and grandiloquent stances, and the viewer can truly appreciate that the script has been deliberately stripped of all but the essentials needed to drive both plot and moral.
This is a milestone in Mamet's career, and it is a far cry from much of his earlier work. Unlike some of his prior works that involve characters of ill-repute and low moral character, here we see the essential nature of man the hero and his true faculty for survival. What is skillfully wrought in this film is a simple, memorable tale of how reason triumphs over animal cunning, brute force, and duplicity. Despite some unimportant flaws in Morse's character, the viewer is left with is a genuine sense-of-life reaction to Morse as a bona fide hero. The introspective viewer is left with is a genuine appreciation for the deeper moral of this story: Man's survival does not merely involve his rational faculty, it hinges on it...man's mind is his edge on reality.
 For instance, Morse is depicted as almost ashamed of his great wealth, and he seems occasionally like an apologist for those with less drive or ambition than he himself exhibits.
on May 13, 2010
When It was announced that Anthony Hopkins would appear in an action thriller written by David Mamet with support from Alec Baldwin (Glengarry Glen Ross)--I looked forward to a brilliant effort--and I wasn't disappointed at all. Mamet has fashioned a "Deliverance" type thriller but with a twist in that it's about how two men survive in the wilderness and then how they survive each other. Hopkins finds his niche in Mamet's language and of course, Baldwin, who was already brilliant in Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" matches him in artistry and wit. In it's own way, "The Edge" is more of a theatrical piece/play than the 1972 classic with Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds, but it's still very good thanks to the two leads and fine direction by Lee Tamohori (We Were Warriors;Along Came A Spider). Hopkins in fact later saw it on video and proclaimed to be a pretty good little action flick--I doubt that you'll be disappointed at all. The Blu-ray version is several notches better than the standard DVD, particularly in the colors and the definitions of the Canadian Rockies where this was shot.
on August 26, 2002
I saw The Edge in the theater and didn't expect anything more then a run of the mill action/wilderness picture. What I got was one brilliantly acted and directed film. OK, first we are dealing with Tony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin---these guys play thier roles with extreme professionalism and tact. And I must add Bart the Bear, who plays the man-eating monster Hopkins and Baldwin must overcome while all the while dealing with thier own conflicts towards one another. Bart is truly an awesome animal and is worth the admission price just to watch. But this movie is chalked full of dialouge and feeling that goes way beyond the awesome visual story. Man, if you like a well told story with a message, breath-taking nature shots and acting that for some reason was over-looked at oscar time...you should check this one out. It is a sleeper.....I don't know why it wasn't more critically acclaimed when it was released but who knows---that is usually how it goes. I give it a solid 8 and a half out of 10.
on December 9, 2001
I know what you're thinking, "How can a movie be entertaining when it has a title as lame as 'The Edge'?" That's exactly what I thought before I'd read good reviews on it. The plot is relatively simple: A billionaire named Charles (Hopkins) and his beauty-queen wife Micky (MacPherson) head off to Alaska for a photo-op, but Charles winds up being stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with the photographer Bob (Baldwin) and his assistant Stephen (Perrineau). The three men then try to find ways to survive, not just against nature but among their relationships with each other as well.
This is an intelligent adventure film with more dialogue than explosions. The whole movie isn't always moving at the pace of a hardcore action flick, but when it does it leaves you biting your nails to the roots. One of my favorite scenes is right in the beginning, where you are freaked out one moment and then breathe a sigh of relief the next. The survival sequences are a lot of fun, and Hopkins delivers a great performance. And the scenery is staggeringly beautiful!
There are a few problems with this film, however. Elle MacPherson may be pretty, but she doesn't act very well. Also, once in a while, the dialogue makes a vain attempt to be intelligent and winds up just being vague (like the final line of the film). Finally, the relationship between the men gets a little illogical after the film's pinnacle of excitement (more than halfway through the film).
Nevertheless, the film is quite good, and it's worthy of more than one viewing. Show it to your friends, they may be surprised at how exciting it actually is!
Final note: The R-rating is there because of the violence and profanity. The profanity never gets unreasonable; after all, it's pretty stressful to be lost in the Alaskan wilderness with nothing to eat. The violence, however, involves intense adventure action and occasionally gets quite bloody. It might be best if kids under 12 don't watch this film.