The Edge (1997) Poster

(1997)

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6/10
Amazing Scenery ! And that's about it .
dpw11 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The scenery is spectacular and you could watch it for this alone . Everything else is a bit ordinary . I didn't like the characters much . Hopkins didn't gel in this part and he was accompanied by some other useless whinny and unconvincing characters . There are too many plot holes and clichés , e.g. I thought they were out of matches ? How did they knock up some bear skin coats overnight ? Still a reasonable adventure though .
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6/10
great survival movie
Great survival movie and wonderful scenery. But in reality, they have not had a chance in that rough environment. For example there would have been much harder to make a fire of wet materials. Their clothes had taken a long time to dry.LAST BUT NOT LEAST: THEY HAD NOT HAD ENOUGH WITH FOOD.
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10/10
Should get a higher score..
adonis98-743-18650310 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
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 for me is the Jaws of good films about Nature and Bears and the fact that they actually brought a real life bear alongside her trainer for this movie it makes it even better. But first let me start with the good first of all Anthony Hopkins in this film is freaking amazing he is a badass and a very smart person that knows how to survive, Alec Baldwin was also really good with a couple of moments where he kinda started over reacting but overall really good performance and honestly he wouldn't even survive the final battle if it wasn't for Hopkins, the locations are very beautiful looking and it seems that they worked the film really well it had great suspense and terror and to me it's even better than the "Silence of the Lambs" and before you go crazy about it both films had 2 great performances by Hopkins so there's that. As for flaws people said that the movie is unrealistic oh yeah because a shark can totally eat a boat right? That was the point for me and the point of the movie it meant to be gritty, dark and violent and it was also the big twist between Baldwin and Hopkins in the end some people will say that it ruined the film in my personal opinion it made it even cooler it showed perfectly the word "friendship" and sacrifice and the last lines are basically just that. Overall 'The Edge' for me is the good Jaws of films about Bears it had a great story, cast and it was very intense to sit threw and it still holds up very well 20 years later!!!
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10/10
Way Better Than Jaws
fullbug16 October 2016
Some reviews refer to this movie as "Jaws With Claws". Perhaps, but the breath taking cinematography and numerous sub plots make this a way better movie. The negative and mediocre reviews (I believe) are the result of armchair survivalists and those that are so saturated with city folk movies that they are practically in culture shock when watching something like this.

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.
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8/10
***
edwagreen22 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Very fine acting by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin marked this interesting 1997 film.

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.
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7/10
An Interesting Survival Drama!
namashi_122 July 2016
'The Edge' Directed by Lee Tamahori, is An Interesting Survival Drama, that is served with a consistent pace & effective performances. Its never razor-sharp, but it holds you for the most of it.

'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.
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7/10
Good adventure survival movie
The Couchpotatoes25 April 2016
I don't think I ever saw a bad movie with Anthony Hopkins. And if I did I honestly can't remember, and it would for sure not be for Anthony Hopkins' acting because he's just an excellent actor. In The Edge he plays a rich man stranded in the Alaskian wilderness with two lesser smart men (played by Alec Baldwin and Harold Perrineau) and they all try to survive while they search to be rescued. The cold, the lack of food, a bear (played by Bart (that's his name apparently)) are the main difficulties for them to survive. The story is entertaining to follow, with breath taking photography. Just for the nature shots alone it's already worth a watch. Add on that the excellent cast and the good story and you have a good adventure movie.
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7/10
A resourceful billionaire, a rugged wilderness vacation
bkoganbing8 April 2016
Anthony Hopkins, a man with Bloomberg like wealth and without a Trump like personality his wife supermodel Elle MacPherson, her photographer Alec Baldwin and Baldwin's assistant Harold Perrineau are off on a rugged wilderness vacation in Alaska where they will stay at L.Q. Jones's hunting lodge. During the course of things the men go down in a plane crash in the wilderness.

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.
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8/10
Great film with a lot to learn from.
fergus-1725 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Came across this on Netflix having never heard of it, but this film really deserves a look. There's a lot of philosophy and thought given to the dialogue. You can tell the writers are digging deep and borrowing from the greats. Even if you have heard the life quotes before, there is something very refreshing in hearing them in place in a story.

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.
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9/10
Edge of Your Seat.
Python Hyena15 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The Edge (1997): Dir: Lee Tamahori / Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Elle MacPherson, L.Q. Jones, Harold Perrineau: Exhilarating thriller about the extremes the mind may be driven too if pushed to the limits of sanity. Wealthy Anthony Hopkins joins associates in the snowy mountains. Alec Baldwin plays a photographer who subjects Hopkins wife before they search down a native. After the plane crashes they are hunted by a bear. Directed by Lee Tamahori who previously made Once Were Warriors and Mulholland Falls. He successfully brings out suspense based upon nature. Hopkins plays off intelligence with grace and is able to provide simple solutions to major problems. Baldwin is the opposite and totally relies on others. The real villain of the film is the bear, which is massive and results in a couple of truly terrifying scenes, one of which will resolve the plot problem. The film does have its problems and they are mainly stirred from the misuse of supporting roles. Elle MacPherson as Hopkins's wife is seen as this captivating beauty but the role is a prop not a personality. L.Q. Jones plays a cameraman but ultimately he is is basically there to become fast food for bear. This is a well made film fill of great scenery and an antagonist nightmare of nature. Otherwise the film is about survival in both the physical and mental state. Score: 9 / 10
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9/10
Very under-rated and terrific movie
s_adwan4 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The Edge is one of those movies where if you ask someone if they have seen it, they probably have not. That is one reason it is my favorite movie. I like to call it a rare movie that showcases a fantastic cast who all have good chemistry throughout, and tell a good story - all this without being overly known.

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.
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7/10
compelling duo
SnoopyStyle18 May 2015
Billionaire Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) joins his model wife Mickey (Elle Macpherson) on a photo shoot with brash photographer Bob Green (Alec Baldwin) and his assistant Stephen (Harold Perrineau). Charles is a brilliant man with vast reserves of knowledge. Robert Green has the idea to go further into the wilderness. He convinces Charles to join him and Stephen. Bird strikes bring their plane down. Charles is able to save Stephen from the plane. The three men are forced to find their way to safety while being pursued by a bear.

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.
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Great story of survival
AlexanderExtazy4 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this many times; it is one of Hollywood's rare collections from the good choice selection.

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.
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3/10
Totally lost in the wilderness
Per Johnsen26 April 2015
Sometimes one wonders if movies are mad only because some producer is able to gather the cash to make it and just have this big dream of casting actors like Anthony Hopkins to some story in an unusual environment for this actor. The Edge is this kind of film, where a mediocre screenplay doesn't get any better at all despite putting Hopkins in the leading role, on the contrary. In this a very predictable story where all the miserable tricks are use to make it mostly embarrassing to watch. The bottom was hit when the only rainy sequence so obviously was shot in a studio with lightning flashes from a bunch of 5000 watts spotlights were supposed to do the trick, that the only thing missing were the really artificial sound effects going along. It is so typical B-movie and shows very much what little know how there was in the crew about weather in Alaska. About the cast - I wonder if Mr. Hopkins didn't wonder why and how the caster Donna Isaacson, together with the producer and director somehow couldn't find anyone better than Alec Baldwin to test his actor's skills against. If I were an actor of his caliber, I surely wood. Baldwin is totally lost in the wilderness, but seen from an artistic angle. Every single of my credits go to Hopkins for trying, L.Q. Jones for making the start a bit thrilling, Harold Pirreneau simply for being the black guy dying early in the story, and above everyone else, best actor Bart the Bear. Worth mentioning is also the late Gordon Tootoosis, who doesn't say anything, but still makes the movie better. Yes. it's a digression, but why wasn't Tootoosis casted for the role as Geronimo, in stead of Wes Studi? The rest of the movie is stuffed with logical errors, unlikely events and bad points. On top of that the music seems like something stolen from a test score to another Indiana Jones film, but found too bombastic even for that. All in all, if this was meant to be realistic, dramatic and exciting, the one's behind the screenplay, together with the producer and director would have been much better off making a documentary about themselves really being lost in the wilderness. It could have been exciting.
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4/10
Swansea pensioner defies the laws of nature
begob25 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Rich man turns the tables on his love rival. And it's in the wilderness. With a bear.

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?
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2/10
a warning to the next guy, don't even try to watch!
mircea-160016 March 2015
The whole movie is plain ridiculous. Mostly because Americans have no idea what smart means. I mean come on, trying to look smart with 12 yo knowledge?

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.
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8/10
"Never feel sorry for a man that owns a plane"
juneebuggy14 December 2014
This is a pretty good movie. I hadn't seen it in a few years but had always remembered it and wasn't disappointed in my re-watch. It's a fast paced thriller about a multi billionaire (Anthony Hopkins) who joins his much younger model wife on a remote shoot in Alaska. During a scouting trip, along with photographer (Alec Baldwin) and the doomed black guy (poor Harold Perrineau) their plane crashes, leaving them stranded in the wilderness.

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
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5/10
More of a Comedy Than A Drama...
jmcd200728 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw the TV version of this film while at a family gathering about a couple of years ago. To cut to the chase, this film had my entire family (myself included) laughing hysterically throughout its entire running time due to its cheesy and unrealistic story plot. There are so many areas of this film that are so unrealistic that it leaves you wondering how the writers of the script even got away with turning in such mediocre work. Yes, I'm talking about a bear so vicious that it rips through large, old, and sturdy trees like an army tank, Charles' knife that never loses its sharp edge despite how many times he has used it throughout the film, the ability to start quick fires during a snowstorm, and the ease of lighting said fire with watch lenses. Oh, and why did the Director and/or writers feel that it was necessary for everyone in the film to say Charles' name over 80 times? Is this man of high honor or something without us, the audience, knowing? In any case, if you're looking for a good laugh with a totally unrealistic story plot, then go for this film. You will be laughing for hours!
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1/10
Just shameful...
dust man13 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I normally don't write reviews, but I had to sign up for IMDb in order to share my views on just how terrible this movie was. Let me just begin by saying I could not finish it, as it was causing me emotional distress and embarrassment for otherwise decent actors. I got an hour through it, which was a feat of shear discipline in itself.

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?
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3/10
Protracted story, dumb characters... missed opportunity
vostf31 July 2014
I really wanted to love that movie about men trapped in the wilderness. But it came nowhere to being a fine adventure thriller. The locations and the bear are superb though and they deserve most of the credit. Anthony Hopkins does a marvellous job of fleshing up a mostly remote character that would look very bright if he was a 12 year old.

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.
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10/10
One of the most under-rated movies made
noone nobody7 November 2013
I first saw this movie in 97 when it first came out.I had barely heard of Baldwin,Hopkins or Perrineau.It turned out to be one of those movies I sat on the "edge" of my seat and was stunned by the ending.I sat there,mouth agape.I found I had a deep respect for all three actors.This movie,in every discernible way,is a masterpiece.The cinematography is breathtaking.The musical score is one of the most beautiful themes I have ever heard.The plot is smooth and the acting superb.I had heard of Baldwin but had not thought he was a great actor until seeing The Edge.Hopkins has made some great movies but this one..well it my personal favorite.The subtleties are numerous,the suspense captivating and the message is profound.The bear is without a doubt frightening and primal.This movie evoked emotions in me that were also primal.And the ending? It is the best ending to any movie I have ever seen.Perhaps you might have to appreciate the complexities of human nature as well as the action sequences in The Edge to get the most out of the viewing experience.It truly is the best of both worlds.
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4/10
Weird movie, Anthony Hopkins plays an analogy representing the wealthy 1% of society
Sean Kaye27 October 2013
I read where Hopkins caught life-threatening pneumonia while filming this in Canada and in reality, THAT's what will kill you out in the wilderness -- running around in just a tweed jacket in the remote Canadian wilderness without even an axe and a few books of matches. Alas, back to Hollywood 'reality'. I'm pretty sure if a bear was chasing you across a log that was straddling a stream, it would not grab one end of it and start trying to shake you off it a-la a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I'm reviewing this as I watch it and I see the bear is back again, this time to kill the black man. So this 'bear' is going to be a recurring character in the film, a stalking bear that's decided to go after two city slickers. Boy, they sure crashed that plane in a bad spot! What are the odds? Anyhow, now Baldwin and Hopkins just caught a little chubby grey squirrel, the same kind you see in the burbs. I wonder if the film crew had to bring it with them or they just grabbed him off the sidewalk and gave him a few peanuts for the shot. Oh oh, now Hopkins was just trying to do a little fishing and guess what 800 pound buddy just snuck up on him through all that brush without making even a single sound? Yep, Mr. Bear! RUN Mr. HOPKINS, RUN!! Fast forward -- they just managed to kill the bear and it's a good thing 'cause as soon as they stripped the fur off it and somehow made a couple of nice fur coats for themselves, the weather went from 'tweed jacket' weather to snow-covered sub-zero fur-coat weather within about 1 day! ... How'd THAT happen? Winter sure must come fast in the Canadian far north. LOL!

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.

Translation:

Why is the 1% unafraid?

Cause they're smarter than the 99%
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7/10
Harrowing Survival Tale
AaronCapenBanner29 September 2013
Anthony Hopkins plays billionaire Charles Morse, a bookish man who is married to a much younger woman(played by Elle McPherson) who is coveted by her photographer(Alec Baldwin) The two men, as well as an assistant(played by Harold Perrineau) are flown into a remote location in the Alaskan wilderness, when they are struck by a flock of birds, causing them to crash in the lake, killing the pilot, and placing the three survivors in a life and death struggle with not only the harsh elements, but a huge Kodiak bear that smells blood...

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...
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8/10
The Edge
Scarecrow-888 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) is a wealthy man ("with his own plane") who decides to join his supermodel wife, Mickey (Elle Macpherson) and her photographic crew to a lodging in the snowy wilderness (of the breathtaking British Columbia mountains and surrounding areas). Charles, Mickey's photographer, Bob (Alec Baldwin), and Bob's assistant, Stephen (Harold Perrineau) go on (what was perceived to be) a small plane ride to a local native's cabin to see if he can transport some film for them but he's on a hunt for bear. Once in the air, birds fly into the plane's propeller, causing them to crash. The pilot killed, the remaining three have to hike it to a closer location of their cabin, but doing so won't be easy thanks to a maneating bear looking to feed its hunger for human flesh. A miscalculation involving "moving south" (Charles uses a paper clip and leaf on water to determine the direction of South following the wind, but a magnetic interference stirs them in a complete circle back to their starting point!), a deep cut on the leg while sharpening a spear (Stephen's "slip" costs him big-time), a bloody rag left on a tree branch (summoning the hungry bear), a nasty attack that shortens the numbers (Stephen never had a prayer), and surviving the elements with little supplies to speak of (matches and the clothes on them; the flares will be needed for later, but they are soon used, too) provide much high drama in this exciting survivalist adventure. Not only the bear's "toying with them" provides suspense, but the idea that Baldwin might be banging Charles' wife and potentially planning to kill him for both the missus and money also remains a point of emphasis throughout. Hopkins never fails to convince as this very intelligent "know-it-all" with almost all the answers when pressures and obstacles present themselves. Charles is always turned to by Stephen and Bob when a new problem rears its ugly head. But that damned bear (Bart the Bear is recognized as a star as the credits closed…and should) just won't go away. Alec Baldwin has that knack for portraying likable assholes, and his Bob is no different here. He sometimes uses his sense of humor to blatantly knock Charles, but his respect for the man never wavers. Stephen's attack is brutal, and the bear's attempts towards Charles and Bob commands serious tension. The location of the film provides much atmosphere because of how detrimental it can be for the duo attempting to survive (the bear and the wilderness/peaks both offer their own challenges). Hopkins' subtly expressive face (particularly the mind's trying to solve problems like when Alec suffers a tough leg injury falling into a "dead fall" meant for bears, or his "makeshift" compass idea; later, that panic that soon fades to disappointment regarding Baldwin's condition is a masterclass of acting) speaks a great deal and it's his responsibility to communicate the situation his character faces. Baldwin needs us to like him so we are unsure of his intent towards Hopkins' life; the ending gives us a tragedy that seems regrettable because it didn't need to end that way. The simple use of a watch (and engravings on it) along with a list with specific handwriting are tools that reinforce the revelation regarding whether or not Charles was right or not regarding Bob and Mickey.
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