The Edge is a very much underrated film that sadly did not get the proper recognition it deserves, for it is an above average multi-layered movie that works very well on many levels, all equally well written and directed.
New Zealander Lee Tamahori, with the excellent Once We Were Warriors to his name,and writer David Mamet manage to make a movie that offers much more than its genre might suggests, both on the drama and thriller levels.
First there is the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness, spaces so vast they are equally inviting and menacing.A Napoleon general, lamenting the disaster that befell the French army once said: 'The vasteness of Russia devours us'. In the Edge you will too get the impression that the beauty of this untamed nature can also devour: break the bodies and souls of our heroes, Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, both offering their most underrated acting best.
Three men are lost in the middle of a wilderness after their plane crash.The hope for an early return/rescue is dashed by the misleading spaces and a huge and determined Kodiak bear.One man, played by Harry Perrineau gets to know first hand about this determination,leaving Hopkins and Baldwin, bewildered, and weary,to try and escape with their lives.
This is when the film really starts. It becomes a journey of incredible hardship that will strip both men of their 'social' selves and replace it with the need to survive that will take them to the 'Edge' of endurance on one hand, and the depths of their own souls on the other. The animosities, tension and grudges that laid hidden between the two men emerge as a powerful and consistent force that mark their relationship from then on.
David Mamet has managed to write the 'Edge' that any human being can face whether lost in an unforgiving wilderness or anywhere else for that matter.It is simply how human beings change,and how social niceties is slowly eroded when the need to survive becomes the single driving force. This is a fine piece of writing!
Of course there is the thriller angle in the film..the bear, the master and primary predator of its environment,chasing two men that have been stripped from all the power and control they once possessed and taken for granted.
The direction and cinematography of these scenes are of top quality.
So if you want to watch gorgeous scenery, be scared of this huge and beautiful animal,or witness the changes incredible circumstances that trigger in men, then the Edge is the film for you eyes and mind, a journey that can easily be revisited in the safety of your own home.