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On the Edge More at IMDbPro »

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27 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Inner Demons Worn On The Sleeve

Author: psp777 from LONDON
3 March 2004

The central theme of the film revolves (mainly) around three of the young patients in a Mental HOME; Jonathan - (Cillian Murphy) - Rachel -(Tricia Vessey) and Toby - (Jonathan Jackson) all of whom have feelings of suicide and complex self-harm scenarios, including various idealisations of death imagery. Dr. Figure, (Stephen Rea) who is an osmosis figure to help to explore and hopefully deal with their deep-rooted demons. The surnames of the characters - Breech, Row & Figure also say something!

Jonathan kicks off the story by driving a stolen car off a cliff in an attempt to kill himself shortly after his (alcoholic) Dad's funeral. The consequences offer up the the ultimatum of facing jail or three months in the institute - he goes for the "easy" option ; )

The personification of Jonathan is invested heavily for the first part of the film; Outwardly witty, inwardly dark, charismatic, and quite sexy.

Dispensing with society's protocols and anti-establishment, he comes across as highly intelligent and 'on top' . . . maybe some may find it difficult to warm to his inner angst at first, but perhaps the alternative working title of "The Smiling Suicide Club" would help to explain more about him and other central characters.

Jonathan's 'battle' of wits against the passive Dr. Figure, and whole structure of the institute is very witty, intelligent, and reveals a great deal about both. A fairly corny part of the dialogue draws in the "Good Will Hunting" scenario (Only because Jonathan says so in the film).

The relationship between him and Dr. Figure gives room for some very witty and at times profound observations.

The clever dialogue (always peppered with underlying angst) is PERFECT for Cillian Murphy's character.

The Group Therapy sessions let us meet and greet the other in-patients, who have occasional but important focus in the film. The love-story then ensues; NO! nothing like "One Flew" - The love part of the story and the components within it will be understood from many differing angles - depending on where you've been with your *own* demons.

The occasional night 'escapes' to the local pub, bring the needed inside-outside interaction - especially the bowling alley scene, a central turning point in the film. John Carney ensured that the stereo-typical alley was not entered regarding the love scenes.

We have an occasional snatch of the historical nature of Toby and Rachel's 'relationship' which is left to the dialogue mainly; not on screen.

This is possibly a neglected part of the film which seemed to have got lost on the cutting room floor or so it seems; perhaps with these included it may not have its cult following?

Cillian is extremely bright, charismatic, fluent and cocky with it . . . American Jonathan Jackson's Northern Irish accent is much praised by followers of this cult film and gave great pathos...

Tricia Vessey (looking, sounding and acting a ***little*** like the new Vicky from Eastenders - oops!) Drags her feet, whilst much of the walking is inside her head. To be honest you would need to have had some emotional traumas to understand and even like her. Eastenders Vicky still comes to mind - but only as a resemblance of her image.

The characteristic intake of deep breathes in sync with his raised eyebrows, Stephen Rea carries his passive, calm, role and acts very much as a mirror for the cast.

# BRILLIANT soundtrack in all the right places . . . enough to make you want to go and buy it. ON THE EDGE is totally enjoyable the first, second and maybe third time around - a great film.

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Rushmore meets Girl, Interrupted

Author: ( from Galway, Ireland
11 July 2001

After seeing this film's premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh, I cannot wait for it to be released in theatres. The acting is exceptional, especially on the part of Cillian Murphy. John Carney's direction is innovative and hopeful, and his free use of camera movements, angles and extreme close-ups adds so much to the depth of this film. Finally, the soundtrack is essential to the emotional impact of the movie. All in all, a versatile and funny film that is optimistic without nearing sappiness.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Murphy and Rea shine

Author: LondonOnMyMind from Canada
23 September 2004

"On the Edge" is a touching story about people and life. It is too bad it never got a wider release, audiences would have appreciated it.

Cillian Murphy and Stephen Rea make this film. Murphy creates a relatable character with Jonathan, making us genuinely care for him and empathize with his pain. He is a talent to watch. Rea's subtle style of acting is perfect for the role of Dr. Figure. Their scenes together are funny and poignant at the same time. The dialogues between them are very well written, as are the ones between Jonathan and Rachel (the also good Tricia Vessey).

Since I always pay attention to a film's atmosphere, I have to say that I loved the atmosphere and cinematography in "On the Edge". There is a melancholy and earthy quality to the cinematography, which fits perfectly with the film's themes of joy, sorrow and, ultimately, life as the most valuable thing in the universe.

Everyone should see this film for its wonderful message and the acting.


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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Comedy on a most serious issue.Message:Treasure Life

Author: niamh from ireland
22 September 2003

i am tired of going into details on films . Cillian Murphy is captivating. The comedy is brilliant in timing and delivery and Stephen Rea plays it low profile in this film. Such constant and well done comedic content is based around young adults whon in despair do not wish to live and are institutionalised for it. (which is rare enough to find mental health assistance in ireland). the main character starts out wanting to end his life , commits sarcasm and jokes on all serious matters to hide his pain. He then through a series of life's common events, grows to appreciate life in a most touching way. as they say Tragedy Plus Time Equals Comedy" which seems to make a premise of this film yet for the character, his comedy stemming from pain grows to enlightenment. anyone who can understandably see the levels of mental depression in ireland that go without treatment can , i hope , relate to the issue at hand and appreciate the ability to laugh at life as well as treasure it. anyway this is how i interpret it, ( nothing worse than a critic, lol) ;-)

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Just like the people in this film, the movie itself is misunderstood ...

Author: stormfrog from Sweden
19 February 2005

This is not what you would call an average Irish film where ordinary people fight poverty, or kids gets dragged into nasty criminal business. The film seems to have gotten some bad reviews and I can only guess that this is because these people did not look hard enough. As the saying goes; 'the truth lies in the eyes of the beholder'. No, this film features something completely and utterly different. The film circulates around trust and what you can and what you can not do for a person depraved of the will to live. It touches the subject of trust very elegantly. Both romance and friendship is a part of the film, they do not take a leading purpose of the story but are always present in the background.

I was awestruck by the beauty of this film, it struck the bullseye of my heart. I am guessing that if you have ever known a very depressed soul this movie has a lot to teach you.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

The suicide club

Author: jotix100 from New York
20 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jonathan, the young man at the center of this tale, is a tormented soul who has seen enough in his life. After his alcoholic father dies, he has plans about what to do with his life. By ending it, it appears that his soul would be at rest, but in an unsuccessful attempt to end it all, Jonathan survives, and is sent to a mental institution where, supposedly, he would be helped.

John Carney, the talented director of "On the Edge", which he co-wrote with Daniel James, shows he has clear ideas about what is troubling Jonathan, as well as the other young people in the institution where the young man is sent.

Jonathan, who is a man who has clear ideas about why he shouldn't be confined to the hospital, clashes with Dr. Figure, the therapist assigned to work with him and the other young people. Jonathan questions Dr. Figure's authority, but ends up accepting his situation, not without rebelling at every chance he gets. The other two people he identifies with, Toby, and Rachel, have also deeply rooted problems in that they have attempted suicide.

Cillian Murphy does another excellent job in the film. He is an actor that is not predictable, as proved by his work in the movies. As Jonathan, he shows an intensity that is incredible. Jonathan Jackson plays Toby in a different fashion, yet, in a subtle fashion he gets inside his character in a great performance. Tricia Vessey is seen as Rachel, a young woman that craves for attention and finds a kindred soul in Jonathan. Stephen Rea continues to surprise in a small role as Dr. Figure.

"On the Edge" shows the work of a talented director that surely will go far.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A truly captivating movie that endears you to its characters

Author: mischiefmaykerr from Ontario, Canada
18 March 2003

On the Edge is a very unique film that you will not soon forget. From the very beginning I was captivated by the story and its characters. The characters are true to life as are the issues they are facing so it was very easy for me to identify with them. I was impressed by the performances of all three of the main actors, Cillian Murphy, Tricia Vessey and Jonathan Jackson. If I have any complaints about the film at all it would have to be that Jonathan Jackson should have been given top billing since it is his character, Toby, who is the true heart of the film.

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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

The blue-eyed boy

Author: Kellye Whitney from Chicago, IL
26 April 2004

If Cillian Murphy had only one movie role to identify himself by, On the Edge should be it. You could almost feel the energy coming off his slender body in waves as he strode through the scenes, wise cracking one minute, driving a BMX off a cliff the next. In this story of Jonathon Breech, a young Irishman's battle with death, depression, and love, my only beef came with Jonathon Jackson's accent. It wasn't terrible, but it was enough to make me cringe a few times when I'd rather have concentrated on Cillian's ice blue eyes, Cillian's deep Irish brogue, Cillian's large, working man's hands... Well-known for playing mentally off-kilter roles, Cillian Murphy is one of those blue-eyed actors (Paul Newman, Robert Redford) who can emote with stillness. There were times when the soundtrack in this film seemed to dominate, catchy teeny-bopper gingles gangling in the background, and then the camera light would catch a certain nuance in his face. It was like seeing a window opened. If you're a romantic, this one is worth renting.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Sad and Happy?

Author: hvn1231 from United States
9 August 2005

I finished watching this movie for the second time today. I find it was dark. I have never seen a movie that explores the feelings that a person might have after surviving a suicide. It makes me sad to see that "Johnathan" and "Rachel" went through but at the same time it gives me a feeling that the movie was not quite finished. What will happen to these two characters as they live on after their friend past away? Johnathan Jackson performed really well with an Irish accent. Maybe the ending leaves you open to feel like "yeah whatever." The movie did give some advice, and one of it is like " a person who survives a suicide might never tell you how they feel." But I think they will tell that feeling to someone they really trust.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Well...I quite liked it (In a Tom Paulin Style)

Author: Mick Slowey from Blackpool, England
20 June 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'll forgo an in-depth plot synopsis by saying this...The film revolves around three young Mental Institute in-patients (Jonathan, Rachel and Toby), with a predisposition to suicide. They are tended to by Dr. Figure, played by Stephen Rea, who's job it is to help them come to deal with their "inner demons" and (hopefully) learn not to top themselves...Ok?

The story starts with the main protagonist, Jonathan Breech, attempting suicide (by driving a stolen car off a cliff)after attending his alcholic fathers funeral. Given the choice of jail and 3 months in the mental institute he takes what he considers to be the easy option. Jonathan's character is developed very well in the first 15 minutes. We find out that he is somewhat nihilistic has a healthy disrespect for societal norms without being to "Generation X". However, as mentioned in other reviews, I'm not sure that many of the audience would have any empathy, or indeed sympathy for him. Having said this...i did.

This sets up one of the main drives of the movie, which pits Jonathan (albeit very midly) against Dr. Figure and the regime of the institute. Almost reminiscent of Good Will hunting, Stephen Rea's portrayal of his role is very "Robin Williams" (This is mentioned in a very post-modernist moment by Jonothan! NB There will be no more pretensious observations by me!). The interaction works for me, very enjoyable. It allows for some really sharp one-liners, delivered perfectly by Cillian Murphy. However it doesn't let us really know any more about Jonathans character a great deal. Dr. Figure's group therapy sessions introduce us to the rest of the triumvirate. An old ploy, but why try and re-invent the wheel? What follows next is an amalgamation of a love-story and a rights-of-passage movie. A mix of genre's that has worked pretty well in the past, in my opinion.

This film is dialogue driven. Not a problem for me because the dialogue is well written and delivered. Various set pieces move the plot along slightly...escapes to the local pub, visits by relatives and weekly trips to the bowling alley. They also allow the minor characters room to develop, and it's nice to see not all of the one liners are saved for the main characters (like some offerings I've seen lately). Succinct, not a lot of chaff to seperate from the wheat here. Interspersed with these scenes the main protagonist gets time to interact with Rachel and Toby. This is where another main drive of the film is explored, the love-story. Both these characters really get to develop quite well. There is no painting with broad brush strokes. I mean, they could have easily fallen into sterotype and it's a credit to writer/director John Carney that they didn't. One small nigggle I have at this point is that Toby and Rachel didn't have enough time to develop their relationship on screen. Most of the platonic relationship is referred to as back story. This leaves one of the final plot points with a less than firm basis.

(Very Minor Spoiler) The final act could be considered by some to be weakest link here. By some, I mean those who like Richard Curtis (of Four Weddings fame) endings. However, I say not so. Like most good yarns the finale has to be a beginning too. These characters where never going to drop all their problems and live in a little cottage by the sea with 2.4 children. They are given a chance of sorts...Any more than that i'm not going to the film

Some other points I'd like to raise...

The acting...Cillian Murphy was really at home in his role. His cocky, self-assured demeanour allowed him to raise many a smile with his witty one-liners, as only the Southern Irish can (in my opinion). I'd like to see his career burgeon.

Jonathan Jackson held a passable (Northern)Irish accent for an American. However he really did come accross well on-screen as a tarnished young man. The least developed (though not under-developed) character of the trio, he did well with what he had.

Tricia Vesey smoulders along. She portrays the curt Rachel with just enough chinks in her emotional armour to make her likable. You could (like any of the 3 main roles, I suppose) find her objectionable. Not the case. You don't want to get hold of her and shake her and tell her to get it together.

Stephen Rea...Well what can you say. I have always enjoyed watching him and I probably always will. Enough!

Magnificent soundtrack. One of the best I've heard in a long time, I think I'd have a similar record collection with the director (who I would assume made the music choices for this). Not too sure about David Gray over the final scene/titles though!

All in all... a gem

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