Customer Review

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure!, June 26, 2003
This review is from: The Edge (DVD)
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.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 11, 2009 11:14:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2011 11:29:25 PM PST
KnyteOwl says:
Good review. Naysayers will always nitpick, but I also detected a story of personal growth on behalf of both Charles and Bob--particularly at the end where neither of them surrendered to the worst in their nature. Bob didn't surrender to his selfishness and kill Charles (evidenced by his apology), and Charles didn't surrender to his (understandable) revenge instinct. In the end, both had grown, and become better people through their harrowing survival odysee.

There were a few inconsistancies as the naysayers have pointed out in their rather shallow reviews, but I found these minor things to be very forgivable. I thought good writing, acting, cinematogrophy, and character growth overcame a few plot holes, and far fetched plot devices. I was also a bit disappointed with the absence of extras on the DVD, but given that I picked this up for 3 bucks in a second hand store, there's really no room for complaints. Now, had I gone out, and thrown down 20 bucks, that would have been a burn. But as a bargain bin find, with the disc in near mint condition, no gripes here. Good acting, good cinematography, good writing, good production values, good movie. Good review too--I found it very helpful, and said so with my helpful vote. ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2009 7:45:27 PM PST
KnyteOwl, I enjoyed sweetmolly's review and your comment. I would like to address what Molly said about possible "deeper meanings that whizzed right by her". To me, the whole story line is a series of events designed to peel off, so to speak, the layers of character of our 3 main persons of interest: Bob, Charles & Charles' wife. Every bit of intrigue, every act of courage, and every evil intent lead up to the last 5 words of the wonderful film (in my opinion one of the best ever). The ending blew me away!! Charles rejoined his wife and embraced her tenderly, handed her the evidence of her infidelity, and let her know that all was forgiven. Then, when asked by the reporters: "How did your friends die?" he made heroes of them in the eyes of the world when he could have made himself the hero (which he was indeed), by replying: "They died saving my life". True selflessness. The final layer of his character finally peeled away. He had every right to vilify his antagonist, but chose to bring honor to his memory (for others' sakes). Charles was a true man of honor, and his deed was an act of grace (undeserved favor). Think on these things the next time you view this excellent film. God bless you. Bill

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2009 2:19:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2010 11:00:21 PM PDT
KnyteOwl says:
Great point, and quite perceptive and insightful of you to point it out. You're absolutely right. This was very much a character study with a powerful subtext on how people grow when pushed to "The Edge". You've managed to "peel away" a layer of the story I tried to touch on, but wasn't able to articulate as gracefully as you in my own comment. But good call on pointing out another aspect of this powerful, and multi-faceted story. Charles was indeed a hero, as well as a man of truest honor and chivalry right to the end. Anthony Hopkins is a tremendous character actor, fit the role perfectly, and did a convincing, and masterful job portraying this deep, and complex character. Without a doubt, in this film Anthony Hopkins delivered one of his most memorable and powerful, yet overlooked, and underrated performances to date. While I have no admiration of the man himself, and dislike him as a person, Alec Baldwin also delivered an excellent (and also underrated) performance in his role as Bob, and really played the role of the smug and conniving antagonist to a tee. While I don't think it's as deep, or compelling as the character study about mens' nature you point out, I don't think the personal growth story is to be overlooked, or understated either. It's another powerful back story addressing a triumph of the spirit in it's own right. Both men had grown, become better people, and perhaps most significantly, both confronted, and defeated the worst of man's most self-centered instincts, and I feel that aspect of the story is often overlooked. Overall, great story. And I will indeed keep in mind the things you pointed out the next time I watch it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2012 11:30:54 PM PST
I just saw this movie for the first time tonight. I thought the last line 'They died saving my life' had a different meaning - that Charles' life had been saved, or changed, by the whole adventure, and that's what he was referring to, not physical survival. One of the themes was personal change, and whether or not anyone could really change.

This is definitely one movie I want to see again. Every bit of it is magnificent.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2013 2:10:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2013 3:38:27 PM PST
I agree with you, Clarita. I don't think Hopkins was trying to give Baldwin and the other man glory, or whatever was said. I think Hopkins TRULY MEANT that they DID save his life. They gave him even MORE tenacity that he already HAD by just being there, and trying to save THEIR two lives, therefore saving his OWN, therefore the two who had perished DID save Hopkin's life. He was telling the TRUTH, which of course, the rest of the characters and the WORLD would take as literally, but it wasn't meant that way and was Hopkin's secret. The most fascinating moment in this film, a film that entirely blew me away. Watching at home, I never paused even to go to the kitchen or commode lol Now THAT I consider a great film.... anything Hopkin's does I will watch and buy... his taste in choosing Parts is absolutely FLAWLESS... as Silence of the lambs was and all the way down from there. I've bought MANY of his DVD's catching up with those I didn't have nor seen. He was talking to the AUDIENCE when saying THEY saved HIS life... making also a different man of him AS Baldwin made reference towards the end, of his being the "first" with a new life, or something like that. YES, they did save Hopkins' life. As some said this had SO many layers to it, which was it's beauty. Even strengthening the love for his 'trophy' wife, and believing that she wasn't part of the murder plot, although Baldwin didn't convince ME of that... but I remember NOT seeing anything really suspicious on HER part from the beginning, only Baldwin coming on to HER and she giving in to a 'little affair', which Hopkin's was probably used to with a trophy like HER, but confirmed it was only a fling so THAT made a new man of him too. It was such a well rounded story. And if there was ANY tributr at all, intended by Hopkins towards Baldwin and the African American's character [sorry, forgot his name] WAS for changing Hopkins life, not to GLORIFY them, I didn't feel at all. Hopkins was just Feeling and REFLECTING 'out loud' to us. And I DO believe that Baldwin WOULD have killed him.... he was a real scuz and all that MONEY he wouldn't have walked away from the opportunity. Which goes along with HER maybe being involved too.... why would he kill Hopkins if NOT SURE he wouldn't have HER to share it with him. A lot of thinking goes into all of this. And DAMN, no COMMENTARY!!
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