The Edge is a beautifully photographed action thriller. There are two strings of plot that run through the film, the biggest of them is of survival. The other is about being rich. Who can you trust if you were a multi-millionaire? Do people talk to you only because you’re rich? Did that pretty model marry because of your money? Life seems rough when you’re rich.
The Edge follows the life of a multimillionaire, Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins), who is on a trip to the wilderness because his model wife has a photo shoot with photographer Robert Green (Alec Baldwin). After the shoot with Charles’ wife, Robert wants to go find an old Indian bear hunter for another shoot. Before going of to find the Indian, he invites Charles along, and Charles agrees. They fly out to find the Indian, but catastrophe happens and the plane crashes. Charles is an avid reader and has all sorts of knowledge stored up in his head, including enough knowledge to help get Robert, Stephen (Harold Perrineau Jr., who plays Robert’s assistant), and himself out of the wilderness.
The Edge starts out a little slow, but quickly picks up pace when a specific character is introduced. This amazing character would be the man-eating bear (Bart the bear) that is stalking Robert, Charles and Stephen. Whenever the story gets a little slow, Bart the bear is called in to help quicken the pace. And that he does just that. Bart the bear creates some genuinely frightening and white knuckled moments.
There is a plot thread about Robert having an affair with Charles’ wife, and planning to kill Charles so that he can get both the woman and the money. This plot thread is introduced early on in the film, but is left to smoulder while Bart the bear thrills us. But, as I thought that the plot thread was merely dropped it shows up again, and provides some good tension between Robert and Charles.
The Edge is beautifully photographed, and there has to be lots of kudos given to the cinematographer, Donald McAlpine. He captures the beauty of the wilderness and never misses a chance to put in more. The film is beautiful. Lee Tamahori (Mulholland Falls) does a great job at keeping the pace of the movie quick and crisp. Though the beginning is a little slow, he manages to move past it rather well. Tamahori handles the action sequences very well, and is able to create some high tension during some scenes.
The score by Jerry Goldsmith is worth mentioning also. The score fits the movie well. The score is broad and moody just like the film. And the score never becomes overbearing.
The two real reasons to see The Edge are for Anthony Hopkins and Bart the bear. Hopkins gives a good multi-leveled performance. His performance is the one that the film rides on, and he does exceptionally well. When we look into his eyes, and listen to him state something on screen, we can also see that he is stating something but his mind is focused on figuring out what’s ahead of that. Bart the bear is also a good reason to see The Edge. He is mighty scary, and worth the price of admission itself.
The one person that I found as the weak link was Alec Baldwin. Maybe I’m just used to seeing him in a more take-control part, but the whiner that he plays in The Edge just doesn’t work. He tries to be a whiner, but it never comes off as being genuine. Baldwin hasn’t had any good films lately, his best role ever, for me, was his role as Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October. And though I didn’t think he fit his role in The Edge, this is one of his better and more memorable performances in the long while since The Hunt for Red October.
The Edge is a highly entertaining movie about the survival of men in the wilderness. It starts off slow but quickly picks up the pace. Its action is thrilling and will keep you at the edge of your seat while its beautiful photography will take your breath away. Hopkins is the star of the film, and he does a great job with his role. Don’t miss this film in the theatres.