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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