The Edge (1997)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
I've watched this movie numerous times, and from my perspective, everything is perfect. Introduction - Rising Action - Initial Incident - More Rising Action - Unfolding Sub Plots - 2 Separate Climaxes - Falling Action - Resolution. None of that annoying artistic, trying to be different garbage. Very nicely done.
Music score, directing, and acting are all top notch as well...doesn't get much better than Hopkins and Baldwin. And especially Bart The Bear (RIP). I've watched several documentaries of Bart and his owner Doug Seus. Bart knew when the camera's were rolling and when to turn on the juice in acting ferocious. Nothing scarier than a 1000 pound Kodiak bear stalking you through the woods (wanting to eat you).
No spoilers, highly recommended, one of my all time favorite movies.
Hopkins steals the show as a perceptive, brilliant, billionaire who becomes isolated along with Baldwin, a photographer, when Hopkins's plane is hit by birds and crashes deep in the woodlands.
At the film's beginning, I thought I was seeing a Doris Day look alike with that hat that Elle MacPherson was wearing. Hopkins is perceptive in that he can see by the way that Bob (Baldwin) looks at the MacPherson character, that something is going on and that Baldwin will want to kill him.
How many times during the film does Bob call Charles, the Hopkins character by first name? It became rather annoying.
Much of the film is dedicated to how the two guys out-smarted a bear that was stalking them.
This is a film of ultimate redemption, perseverance and understanding and forgiveness of humans.
'The Edge' Synopsis: An intellectual billionaire and two lesser men struggle to band together and survive after getting stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with a blood-thirsty Kodiak Bear hunting them down.
'The Edge' is about two men fighting it out in the Wilderness. The Bear, of course in the main antagonist, but 'The Edge' is more about the fight between its two strong leading men & how they are as unpredictable & fierce as the Bear. I was engrossed for the most part. The only glitch, lies in its final-act, which drags on for a bit.
David Mamet's Screenplay is interesting & successfully captures the violent & unpredictable journey of two strong men. Lee Tamahori's Direction is excellent. Donald McAlpine Cinematography's is a sheer delight. 'The Edge' is a visual marvel, as it captures the wilderness & the beauty of it, without ever looking overdone. The Late/Great Neil Travis's Editing is well-done. Art & Costume Design are superb. Make-Up merits a special mention.
Performance-Wise: Sir Anthony Hopkins & Alec Baldwin are in great from. Hopkins excels as the billionaire with a strong will to survive, while Baldwin oozes subtle menace as well as induces some nice comic touches. Both of the terrific actors work superbly here. And of course Bart the Bear, who's contribution here is tremendous. R.I.P, dear Bart.
On the whole, 'The Edge' is definitely worth watching.
For a man who you would think would be money and investment focused, Hopkins has stored up an incredible amount of trivial knowledge. Some of it turns out to be quite useful for his and Baldwin's survival. But there's a lot unspoken that eventually comes out as they try to walk out of the Alaskan forest.
Most of The Edge is centered around Hopkins and Baldwin and the spectacular landscape photographed in various Canadian locations. The two are quite an acting duel, a lot like Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine in Sleuth only not quite so civilized.
The Edge is quite the film for conservationists and nature lovers. The various Canadian National Parks is quite a tribute to that country's commitment to the environment. The scenery competes heavily with the human players and a ferocious Kodiak bear who plays a big part in the plot.
Anthony Hopkins character is unfortunately far too good to be true, but the final scene with Baldwin has had me thinking about forgiveness a lot.
Very much a male self help film, and that's no bad thing.
The story isn't an Oscar winning one, but what is refreshing about this particular story compared to others is that it can be related to real life experience. They are in a real wilderness, facing a real bear, not a CGI monster looking to destroy everything in it's path. The story also allows for strong character development throughout, as Charles puts his theoretical knowledge into more practical use. With Bob is a tad different as we slowly see his evil ways as the story progresses, but ultimately leaves being somewhat of a resurrected 'good guy' after his plans to kill Charles backfire. Stephen just seems to be the likable character with a few funny jokes to keep himself in the loop of the movie, but was always ultimately going to die in the movie. It also truly shows the motif of the panther and the rabbit shown in the movie. We are to believe that the symbolism refers to the bear and the three men, but it is more deeply referring to Charles and Bob. We see this in the end where Bob is ready to carry out his plans and end Charles, however Charles in the face of death comfortably smokes his invisible pipe and turns the tables on Bob. A forgiving man he is as he spares Bob's life and helps him in the end. A sad ending where it seems that just when all was forgiven, Bob decides there is no more left for him in the world and dies. Overall the story is great and I find it to be very original and not mainstream. Everything ties together well from the beginning to the middle to the conclusion.
One of the things that make this movie so under-rated is the acting, namely from Hopkins and Baldwin who give a performance that continue to compliment each others characters. The acting portrays everything a good movie should; happiness, sadness, deceit, betrayal, triumph, forgiveness, and motivation. "I'm gonna kill the bear!" That scene alone summarises just how great the acting was from Hopkins and Baldwin throughout the film. Charles is knowledgeable, mentally strong and for the most part soft spoken and reassuring - Hopkins portrays his character to perfection. Bob is arrogant, cocky and conniving, but in the end remorseful and is displayed excellently but Baldwin from beginning to end. Overall a great acting performance that I believe should have been award winning.
The movie as a whole works tremendously well with good chemistry between the characters and fantastic directing and cinematography. For what seems to be a lower budget film, it is definitely up there with the best action/thriller movies past and present.
I like that both men have their own flaws. At first, Charles looks like the smart one being maligned. However he shows that he can be wrong. I certainly like the two great actors together. I would probably leave the bear kill closer to the end. It's the most exciting point of the movie and needs to be the climax. The rest of it needs to be more compressed. The movie should end soon after Bob falls into the trap.
Anthony's role of a billionaire was very well played; his will to survive and go back to his wealthy lifestyle gave him all the power to do what it takes to get out of that God forsaken forest and back to his beloved... or so it seemed.
The survival techniques which Charles read on the book were superb.. one can learn a lot of things about surviving in a forest!
I must say this is Baldwin's only movie that he did OK in, with comparison to the other Hollywood crap he acted in.
Overall, this movie shows us that no matter who we are or what we achieved throughout our lifetime... when we are stuck in a large forest with no help available for hundreds (or thousands) of miles.. we are all one and the same.
The bear is brilliant, Oscar worthy. Everything else is daft.
The main character is a billionaire, apparently, but his outstanding feature is a universal theoretical knowledge of camp larnin'. So the first things he doesn't do after a near drowning in cold Alaskan water is gather tinder, dry his clothes, and look for food.
This screenplay is badly undercooked, with the insult of a black guy who's just there to be eaten. And the utter Jaws-style violence of a bear attack is turned into cartoon - watch Grizzly Man to see how deadly these animals are.
There are some great themes in this story, but the result is just juvenile.
ps. What is Hopkins doing to Baldwin in the cover art?
Had the young guy been the main character, it could be a romance movie. You can't do that with a rich old fart. It will never be a fatal lover.
It can't pass as a drama either. There can't be much drama in guarding a fortune from people as greedy as the owner.
Having this movie I skipped all negative reviews from the start, in hope they are wrong. Turns out they had a solid reason. As shown before, this is some adventure movie, with ordinary Hollywood seasoning. Such kind of movies should be made by people who love nature. The people behind this movie were both stupid and arrogant. This is what all this movie is about.
Armed only with a pocket knife, and Charles' vast array of useless knowledge the trio attempt to make it back to civilization. This ends up being way more than a survival movie though as Hopkins struggles with his own insecurities, and the possibility of his wife's infidelity with the cocky and jealous photographer. Oh and did I mention the bear, yeah there's a huge grizzly bear stalking them and (Bart the bear) is awesome.
Alec Baldwin really impressed me in this, he was just excellent, a complete ass, showing such range throughout and Hopkins gets super annoying with his constant knowledge and spouting off of factoids, but these are not faults of the movie, the characters are just really well done. Great ending here too. 11/27/14
How are you going to "go south" in terrain like that and end up back where you came from without noticing it?! You would have to be a serious dullard. Why would you have to travel by night in order to go in the direction the stars tell you is south? Look at the stars, get your bearing, when it gets light, start walking in that direction, using the numerous landmarks in that terrain to keep you on course til the next night. Not to mention the fact that when you are that far north it is blatantly obvious which direction is which based on the position of the sun, you don't need the stars or a compass...
The acting and script made me cringe repeatedly. You know when you see someone do something really dumb and you feel embarrassed for them? That's how I felt through that whole hour... It's like they used footage from rehearsals and didn't bother to do a take or two before cutting it into the film. Whoever directed/edited this... thing... needs to be working night shift at quick mart selling alcohol to people who just got done seeing this movie and need to get so drunk they don't remember it the next day. I mean, dear god, have they no shame? How can you watch the final cut and say to yourself "this is ready for the screen."? And how the hell are you going to wound yourself so badly through your pants with a little knife while sharpening a stick?
Whoever said David Mamet was a great writer? I don't know about his plays but all his movies pompously resort to heavy plot devices that some people confuse with impressive convolutions. The Edge is dumb from the start: lame exposition + every single character thick as a phone book (or shallow as rotary dial hole).
The survival adventure is a joke, something a 10-year old (this time) could write and so you would be lenient about the naive survivalist didactics. Guys have no clue how to light a fire at first, then it is OK. They are starving for most of the trek but hardly look exhausted. And the inter-personal subplot is so ridiculously put together in the middle of nowhere you keep hoping they will not dare to follow through with it.
Very much disappointing... but that's the risk with most movies that went under the radar immediately after release.
Now they just reached a hunting cabin where there's some smokes, booze and a gun so Baldwin can finally get drunk, take Hopkins outside and threaten to kill him with the gun only to step backwards into a big deep pit with sharpened sticks in the bottom! OH NO! VERY bad luck AGAIN!! These two sure have a thing about good and bad timing! So Hopkins has saved Baldwin now and even though Baldwin tried to kill him, he's going to forgive him and bring him back to civilization via canoe, but that's the 'character' of the 1%, even if you try and kill them and fail, they'll turn around and save your life because deep down, they're such GOOD PEOPLE! LOL! But maybe it's more like without the 99% endlessly consuming, the 1% can't profit and thrive.
Well a helicopter just showed up and Hopkins waved it down but unfortunately, just as it was landing, Baldwin died. Yep, there's that bad timing thing again. He managed to hang on all those days in the woods but the very MINUTE that help shows up, he simply ups and dies.
Oh, and on the final quote from Hopkins as he arrives back to civilization.
Hopkins: Why is the rabbit unafraid?
Styles: 'Cause he's smarter than the panther.
Why is the 1% unafraid?
Cause they're smarter than the 99%
Harrowing adventure drama from writer David Mamet is well directed by Lee Tamahori and acted by the leads, especially Anthony Hopkins, whose transformation from bookish introvert to determined survivalist is believable(they're not mutually exclusive anyway!) Relationship among the men is a bit muddled, especially after the climax, but solid thriller is also compelling and frightening.
Not a film for people with a fear of bears...