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A man in a suit at a Manhattan firm leaves work on Friday; he looks unhappy. He stops at a fortune teller's for a Tarot reading: "You are not where you belong," she tells him. That evening he quits his marriage and walks the streets of New York, passing from a classy bar to a gentleman's club, then to a high-class bordello, a mugging, a pawnshop, and a diner where someone does listen. He shares his insights with her and later with others. Violence, disappointment, and musings entwine as Edmond loses his moorings while believing he's found them. Where does he belong? Written by
We have here a night of debauchery, violence, anger, and hate which could only be delivered by David Mamet's lyrical prose and the horror background of director Stuart Gordon. Think Scorsese's After Hours, but dead serious and shrouded in pitch black darkness. Much like Mamet's Oleanna, also based on his own play, Edmond features a tour de force performance from lead actor and real life friend William H. Macy. His character awakens to the mundane existence he has been a part of for 47 years and decides to go on an adventure to live life in the moment. You have not seen a crisis of identity lead a man to the depths of the hell within himself like you do here.
Gordon shoots the film with a bit of an off-kilter unease, showing the audience how fragile each moment is. At any time Macy's Edmond could fall in lust, partake in bigoted conversation, get mugged, find God, and even kill. Macy delivers an emotional clinic as he falls deeper and deeper into insanity or maybe just plain indifference. He is the star of the show and is on screen every second of the film just trying to give wisdom and take some for himself, not realizing the crazed malice infused in his face as he spouts his philosophy. The film is definitely not for the weak of heart, and not because of any real overdoing of blood and nudity, but because of the script itself. Each character is a racist and bigot of some sort, exposing their prejudices with candor. Edmond is on a journey of acceptance for who he really is. Where that trail ends may be surprising and also fitting at the same time, but if nothing else, it is the place he has been searching for his entire life.
This is definitely Macy, Mamet, and Gordon's film, but it wouldn't be as successful as it is without an abundance of name actors in extremely small roles helping to keep the adventure going. Mamet's wife Rebecca Pidgeon is great as always playing the wife Macy leaves; Mena Suvari and Julia Stiles are believable as two of the women he crosses paths with, both of whom are introduced as one thing but eventually allow their true colors to come through; and Joe Mantegna once again shows that he became an actor only to show the world how Mamet's words should be spoken. No one does it like Mantegna and no film penned by Mamet should be without him.
Edmond is a strangely intriguing film to experience. It is dialogue heavy and contains a strong lead turn from Macy. Everything that transpires does so as a result of what he has experienced beforehand. Macy would not end up where he does if all that happened this night of self-reflection did not occur in exactly the order that it does. Straight from the note his secretary gives him at the beginning, to the tarot reading soon after, the planets aligned and fate led him to his salvation/destruction. There are moments in which the story grinds to a bit of halt and takes a little to get back on track, but overall the experience is one not to be shaken easily from your consciousness.
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