|Index||5 reviews in total|
If you love to run, really run, then you appreciate the joy of running. Nothing gets you closer to that true spirit than trail running, especially over beautiful terrain like that shown here. As I understand it, Bruce Dern is truly a devoted runner himself -- and he was chosen because no actor -- no matter how good otherwise -- who didn't really like to run, would be right. This film celebrates the Dipsea Race in Marin County, or the Double Dipsea -- a real event for some 40-50 years. It's not called that directly in the film, but otherwise the other things, the location, the handicapping by age, etc., is based on the Dipsea.. So, yes, it's a bit sappy, story-wise, but the sheer fun and adventure of the sport come through -- as opposed to the mad, adrenaline-driven competitiveness of track running (which has its place, too, God love it). The gloriousness of the scenery after running uphill for three or four miles: It's all here, guys! If you know the area, if you've been to the top of Mt. Tamalpais (you can drive there, for you tourists) -- once you top the ridge, then you can see the Pacific and run on down to it. So this film deserves its niche among the running community as a special film -- better than the many attempts to celebrate the great 3-mile champ from Wash/Oregon who died in a car crash -- Prefontaine, I think, was his name. There have been two films on him, both interesting, but just not enough real running in 'em. Maybe you've got an injury, can't run for a month or two -- you're going nuts because of it -- well, this film may provide some solace, help you feel like you're back out there on the trails. Or remind you what it's all about.
This is a movie by runners, for runners. The director, one of the
producers, and many of the actors in the movie are real runners,
including many real winners of the Dipsea race that the film is based
on. There's something about distance running that those of us that do
it understand, and those that don't do it don't understand. This movie
does a great job of showing the spiritual side of running, and the
magic of pursuing goals. If you run, and know what I'm talking about,
WATCH THIS FILM...It's an amazing, artistic, brilliant depiction of
what it really means to be a runner.
I found a restored copy of this film on VHS over at the local Salvation Army Thrift store in Hagerstown, Maryland which I bought for a dollar. The restored portion was the Pam Grier nude scenes with Bruce Dern. I had seen the cut version of this film before and enjoyed it. Pam's bit was a bonus. This is a nice film on running and the Dipsea Race in and around Mill Valley and Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County near San Francisco. It is about a runner who is now in his 40's and had been banned from running competitively because he tried to organize the runners of his day to admit using cashed in airline tickets to support their being able to run in the sport and compete . . . his father Flash was a union organizer and bit of a leftist as was his mother. The film revolves around his family relationship with his widower father and his preparation and running of the race despite not being able to "officially" be entered to run. Nice to see Bruce Dern playing something besides a bad guy or fool. This is a good film to watch as was his Silent Running.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Because running is a lonely sport, a movie about the camaraderie
involved in it is almost surely doomed to failure. That may be one of
the reasons for this film's meager ratings. And yet "On the Edge"
overcomes the paradox by pitting an honest man against a corrupt
system: the actual sport of cross-country running becomes secondary to
the subject of personal integrity. And Bruce Dern, never adequately
appreciated, quietly underplays his role, letting his legs carry him to
a triumph that transcends individual accomplishment and underscores the
relationship among all athletes everywhere.
I'm not sure how this movie went from an "R" to a "PG-13." Maybe someone expurgated it for television, but that was a mistake--the change seems to have removed some of the grittiness that makes the story so appealing. Still, even though the viewing audience might be limited, it's a film that deserves a DVD release in its original "R" rating; otherwise, when the VHS format disappears, a good movie will vanish with it.
An over-the-hill distance runner and lapsed left-wing radical (Bruce Dern) begins training for the infamous 'Dipsea' marathon: a brutal contest run between San Francisco Bay and Stinson Beach over the 2600 foot summit of Mount Tamalpais. Rob Nilsson's modestly budgeted (but quite accomplished) drama may, in outline, resemble a Marin County 'Rocky' rip-off, but the scenario hides more than one surprise, including a novel twist to the all-too familiar against-the-odds formula: Dern's political beliefs get him banned from professional competition, and after entering the race illegally he has to contend not only with the physical demands of the course itself, but also with irate officials trying to pull him bodily off the track throughout its length. Long distance running can hardly be called an exciting spectator sport, so it's all the more surprising to find so much tension generated during the climactic challenge, for the most part by a combination of deft editing and ominous music cues. But the effect is nearly spoiled by a discordant 'Chariots of Fire' resolution, in which Nilsson's already obvious political sentiments are pulled too far into the foreground.
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