We all had those films, back in the day of VHS, the ones we watched so much that you could nearly hear the tape crying out for mercy as the heads dragged it through its paces for the umpteenth time. For me there were several but I would think The Edge was one of the few I managed to run more than one copy of ragged. I can’t count how many times I rented it when a trip to Xtra Vision for a new release came up fruitless and when we finally managed to catch it on TV and record it the already worn tape it was recorded on began a journey that it would do well to survive. I guess what I’m trying to say is, The Edge is an absolutely fantastic watch that you’ll want to see again.
Anthony Hopkins plays billionaire Charles Morse, a man with a stunning and signifcantly younger wife Mickey (Elle Macpherson) and an eidetic memory. Along with Mickey, assisntant Stephen (Harold Perrineau) and Bob (Alec Baldwin) he travels to Alaska where Mickey is partaking in a photo shoot. There is early suggestion that Bob and Mickey are more than colleagues but before the film can delve too deep into that, a series of events leads to Charles and Bob stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with a male Kodiak bear stalking them.
From this point the film plays out as an intriguing three way battle. Even when faced with insurmountable odds, whilst the two men try and stay one step ahead of the vicious beast on their tail, Charles and Bob cannot put their differences aside even in the face of imminent death. Director Lee Tamahori, in one of his last outings of any merit, keeps the pace up more than anything, the viewer feeling a kinship with the two leads and the urgency they are experiencing. The Alaskan backdrop helps give this flick a certain gravitas too. Unlike many films of the time, The Edge gives us a nineties action film with a bit of brains yet stays within the restraints the genre suggests. Hopkins’ performance and his stature as an actor certainly elevates the film whilst Baldwin at the time was still a fairly prominent action star, though he too did tend to bring a slightly more high brow feel to his features.
Treading on similar yet fundamentally different territory to last week’s article on seriousness in film today. The Edge quite possibly represents the perfect middle ground in that debate and that it came along towards the tail end of the Stallone and Schwarzenegger hey day is telling. You will come away from The Edge with a few lessons learned, not least from Hopkins’ eidetic memory recalling a few hundred pages of a survival guide throughout the film, and you will also be entertained in a good adrenaline-filled nineties action way. An extremely well balanced film in my opinion and it’s sitting right there on Netflix just waiting to be enjoyed. Do it.
Image courtesy of wikipedia.org