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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Edge (1997)



Reviews and Comments

The Edge is living proof that even in today's world of over-the-top action movies, tension between characters is still the most satisfying source of suspense, and a climactic action showdown such as that featured here is often wisely placed a half hour before the real climax of the film.

Anthony Hopkins delivers another superb performance; Alec Baldwin isn't quite his match, but he holds his own. They're lost in the snowy wilderness, threatened by the weather and a bloodthirsty bear. One of them may want to kill the other, but maybe not -- in any case, getting back to civilization is the priority.

The Edge falls into its share of cliches -- maybe because writer David Mamet wanted to poke fun at the genre; then again, maybe not. Yet it dodges others, most notably the portrayal of Hopkins' character. Usually the rich guy is the stupid whiner in movies like these. Hopkins' character has a razor sharp mind and a knack for keeping cool under duress -- he's the type of character who has the real life skills necessary to become rich in the first place. I found him fascinating to watch and remember him more than anything else when I recall the film.

The other great success of The Edge is that Mamet's dialogue is sheer art, without calling unnecessary attention to itself. Strong characters and smart dialogue are rare qualities for adventure films these days. The Edge has both, and I recommend it highly.