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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
The story of one man's journey into the emptiness of his own soul
At first glance, horror meister Stuart Gordon would not seem the obvious choice to direct an emotional psycho-drama cinematic rendering of a David Mamet play, yet with Edmond, he displays a deft touch for the material and allows the actors to carry the day.
Originally penned as a stage play, Edmond tells the story of namesake Edmond Burke (William H. Macy), a mundane white collar worker who has spent his entire life being a faceless cog in the big industrial machine. The rescheduling of a business appointment to 1:15 (a number which re-occurs in the film) propels him to idle away his time with a visit to a tarot reader who tells him he's not where he's supposed to be. From there he begins a slow spiral into depravity and insanity that begins with telling his wife he's leaving her and progresses to an outback-like dreamwalk into New York City's seedy underbelly of bars pimps and prostitutes.
Written in the wake of a divorce, Mamet infuses the script with racial discourse and epithets that are stunning in their caustic vulgarity as Edmond pours out years of pent up hatred on one of his muggers revealing a window into his shallow soul that only becomes more intensely evident as the movie reaches its conclusion.
In the scene where Edmond tells his wife their marriage is over, he explains to her that she hasn't satisfied him spiritually or emotionally for quite some time. Yet, after watching his progression trough the course of the story, it becomes clear that spiritually he has no soul, and emotionally he's a shallow but volatile cauldron of disjointed thoughts.
The film is a tour-de-force for Macy, who is in every scene and morphs from a character of Caspar Milquetoast proportions to unhinged bigoted psychopath and back again by the movie's end. Along the way he's complimented by solid performances from Joe Mantegna, Julia Stiles, Mena Suvari and Bokeem Woodbine. As if in a wink and nudge to his own work, Gordon even manages to insinuate longtime stalwart Jeffrey Combs into a small but telling scene during Edmond's descent into insanity.
By the time Edmond arrives at the end of that journey, however; at that place where he ought to be; I couldn't help but think he had merely wasted his life catching up to where his soul was long ago.
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