The Edge

Bomb Rating: 

Mamet's characters have all the believability of Oliver Stone at a conference on historical accuracy.

One can only suppose that writer David Mamet's idea of subtlety is being kicked in the groin by a donkey. As one of the most overrated American screenwriters, if not the most overrated, Mamet has replaced storytelling with unrealistic characters pontificating endlessly about the meaning of existence. Whether that existence is as a real estate salesman in "Glengarry Glen Ross" or a pawn shop salesman in "American Buffalo," Mamet's characters have all the believability of Oliver Stone at a conference on historical accuracy.

How appropriate, then, that "The Edge" should start off with a grammatical error. While this may be the ultimate in nitpickiness, it's one thing if your mistake is made by an undereducated three-year-old, and quite another if it's the billionaire, Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins), whom you've gone to great lengths to establish as having a photographic memory and a penchant for remembering obscure facts. Why then, when a mechanic staring at his plane and his wife (Elle McPherson), says, "Boy, I'd like the get my hands on that," does Morse respond, "Get your hands on who?" when he and Mamet should know perfectly well that it's "Get your hands on whom?"

I was only slightly more offended when, after their plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the film's sole brother (Harold Perrineau) is told to carve a spear, only to be the first devoured by a man-eating Kodiak bear.

Harold Perrineau is young and fit. I'm surprised Mamet didn't write in a scene where the decrepit Hopkins and the chubby (Alec) Baldwin beat Perrineau in consecutive games of one-on-one wilderness basketball prior to watching him get mauled by the bear. Then Hopkins could have made a nice speech about race relations afterward and made the film a Mamet dream come true.

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