The Edge

on September 26, 1997 by Kim Williamson
   What would happen if David Mamet, he of the plays and movies ("Glengarry Glen Ross") most widely known for their violence of language and cojones characterizations, tried to write a standard Hollywood movie? The result, apparently, would be a standard Hollywood movie with a difference. "The Edge," more of a drama than the action/thriller it's being billed as, exhibits a restrained literateness that's quite effective.
   Mamet blends two narrative conventions--man vs. man, and man vs. nature--in this story of two men whose plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness. One, an elderly billionaire (Anthony Hopkins), has a beautiful model for a wife (Elle Macpherson) and a memory that never forgets information he comes across in his virtually nonstop reading; the other is a handsome fashion photographer (Alec Baldwin) who might or might not desire the rich man's wealth and woman.
   The men must first join together to overcome nature's elements; half the movie, they're on the run from a killer bear, which sounds a bit goofy but makes for some rivetingly tense moments. In the latter half, on their way to safety, their personal battle returns to the fore. Hopkins as the bookworm (the project's early title) and Baldwin as the man who would be king are excellent in their roles, with director Lee Tamahori (who returns to his "Once Were Warriors" level of success after his "Mulholland Falls" misstep) paying assured attention to the minutiae of character interplay. Starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Directed by Lee Tamahori. Written by David Mamet. Produced by Art Linson. A Fox release. Drama. Rated R for language and some adventure gore/violence. Running time: 118 min
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