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EDGE, THE(director: Lee Tamahori; screenwriter: David Mamet; cinematographer: Donald M. McAlpine; editor: Neil Travis; music: Jerry Goldsmith; cast: Anthony Hopkins (Charles Morse), Alec Baldwin (Robert Green), Elle Macpherson (Mickey Morse), Harold Perrineau (Stephen), L.Q. Jones (Styles), Kathleen Wilhoite (Ginny); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Art Linson; 20th Century Fox; 1997)
“Unsuccessfully mixes melodrama with action/adventure and satire.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Lee Tamahori (“Once Were Warriors”) directs and David Mamet writes a back to nature tale set in the Alaskan wilds, that unsuccessfully mixes melodrama with action/adventure and satire. Distrusting know-it-all billionaire Anthony Hopkins, first seen reading a book entitled Lost in the Woods, is married to the much younger beautiful supermodel Elle Macpherson (a real life supermodel) and accompanies her out of jealousy on a trip to the Alaskan wilderness for a photo shoot. He believes that the smart-assed wheedling fashion photographer Alec Baldwin might be banging her, though he has no proof. Also along for the shoot, is Baldwin’s assistant Harold Perrineau.

The lodge owner (L. Q. Jones) warns his city slicker guests about man-eating Kodiac bears in these parts. When the small plane carrying the three men on a touristy excursion crashes in the wilderness, they are stranded and must fight to survive. Facing the raw elements and a Kodiak bear that is stalking them, the bookish and soft-living Hopkins relies on his photographic memory to cope with being out of his elements as he faces humiliation, hunger and fear. The plot twists revolve around not only survival, finding one’s manhood, dealing with the inner demons of distrust, but another thing the boys must iron out before they call it a day–a battle of wits to determine who is the fittest.

Somehow the parody of an action film never kicked in, as the film remains at it most exciting best in the struggle between the ferocious bear and the men. The film had menace, charm and incredulity in depicting the relationship scenario. What results is an uneven but entertaining film that lost its purpose in the woods, but nevertheless gained its mettle there amidst the breathtaking outdoor splendor.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”