The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean
Starring: Anthon Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Harold Perrineau, Elle MacPherson
Directed by: Lee Tamahori
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: David Mamet
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 1, 2010
"Knowledge is power"
A plane crash in the freezing Alaskan wilderness pits intellectual billionaire Charles Morse (Hopkins) against self-satisfied fashion photographer Robert Green (Baldwin) in a brutal struggle for survival. They find themselves teamed up against nature and their own inner demons, including tensions over Morse's luminous wife (Macpherson). Each soon discovers that the greatest danger resides not in nature, but from human fear, treachery, and quite possibly murder.
Charles is a man of significant wealth both monetarily and through knowledge via the many books he reads. He is an honest and fair man that is respected by those that work for him. He met and married the only woman he ever wanted in Mickey, a beautiful young fashion model. When Mickey and her photographer Bob and their entourage, are sent on a photo shoot to a remote area of Alaska, they persuade Charles to come along. Charles is noticeably cognizant of the fact that something appears to be going on between Mickey and Bob. Bob revels in making Charles' quiet nature the butt of his seemingly jovial attempts at humor. It isn't difficult to see that there is unspoken friction between the two men. Bob and his assistant Steve decide to fly to another location nearby seeking a local Indian man Bob wants to use in the photo shoot. Bob suggests that Charles accompany them which Mickey supports as a good idea. Their plane strikes a flock of migrating geese and crash lands in a river killing the pilot, and leaving the three men stranded in an area 20 miles from their intended destination. With no food, radio or navigating instruments they formulate a plan designed to get them to the location closest to where they can be spotted by search personnel.
Charles' untested knowledge of many things is put to use as the three rely upon his acumen and the survival techniques which he has only read about. Unfortunately they run into a rather nasty, very large and man hungry Kodiak bear that relentlessly pursues them. Amidst the immediate threat of the bear they have to deal with the dangerous terrain, no food, an unstable climate and the emotional strain/fear associated with being stranded in the wilderness. Charles can't escape the feeling that Bob isn't to be trusted but puts in on the back burner to focus on finding a way to be rescued. Unfortunately things only get worse when Steve accidentally injures himself exposing them to the blinding rage of the blood thirsty Kodiak bear. In order to survive they will have to put their differences aside and rely on one another.
I first saw The Edge on cable TV back in the late nineties and have been hooked ever since. I picked up the non-anamorphic DVD release which has been my only experience with it on home video. Penned by David Mamet this is an engrossing film about two very different men who are thrown together under dire circumstances. There are clues that suggest that Charles' suspicions about Bob and Mickey are founded but there isn't any tangible evidence of collusion between them. The scripts strengths lie in the foundation and evolution of the relationship between Charles and Bob. As the story unfolds and they are forced to work together in order to survive they endure a forced kinship that calls into question the events that transpire throughout. We opt not to believe the truth until it is staring us right in the face. We think Maybe Charles is just paranoid there really is nothing going on between Mickey and Bob'. If there is maybe Bob really never intended to kill Charles'. Perhaps he did but surely he has changed his mind after all these men have been through together.'
We hold on to this right up until the truth finally comes to light. With that we truly see the hearts of two very different men exposed in a narrative first driven by the human condition and then out of a mutual respect earned by a kinship gained under dire circumstances. Both Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin are on equal footing in terms of the quality of their portrayal of these characters. I don't consider myself a big Alec Baldwin fan but there is no denying that he gives one of his best, if not the best dramatic performance of his career in this film. This is a character driven story with an air of adventure, thrills, drama and suspense. It is a film that I enjoy for the simple yet visceral nature of its story, the wonderful interplay between the two main characters and a very convincing (and talented) Bart the bear. I am happy to now own it on Blu-ray although I must admit that I am disappointed that it, like the previous DVD release, comes with no bonus supplements.
The rating is for language and some adventure gore/violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Edge comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p MPEG-2 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.4 Mbps.
The film comes to Blu-ray Disc framed in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and features image quality that is clearly a step above the previous non-anamorphic DVD that I own but it falls short of the better catalog release titles I have seen on Blu-ray. It offers a fair level of high definition detail that at times looks very good. Close ups generally offer plenty of fine rendering so that it is easy to make out the subtle complexional structure in the faces of the actors as well as the texture of clothing and objects within the frame. Resolute clarity and sharpness is inconsistent though and can go from looking very good to just average. For instance the opening segment with the wide angle aerial shots of the snow covered mountains/peaks and the exterior landing/dock at the lodge appear flat and noticeably lacking in definable detail in backgrounds which negatively impacts the perception of depth/dimension. Once the story shifts to the wilderness with its rustic landscapes and tree lined forests thing improve. The superb cinematography with its beautiful vista views of the open expanses and densely wooded droves as supported by the natural lighting offer varying levels of delineation and depth that at times look great. Colors appear natural with a limited range that is primarily made up of earth tones and darker shades that are rendered well. Flesh tones are warm with supple texture and lifelike quality. Brightness and contrast levels are balanced and shadow detail is above average. The sequences filmed at night don't offer deep defining blacks or unlimited dimensional perspective however they exhibit ample dynamic range with discernible image penetration. Grain is intact and never rises to an objectionable level. I noticed some light background noise during several sequences. It doesn't appear to be the result of bit starvation but may be compression related, in either case I didn't find it overtly distracting. Seeing as this is an MPEG-2 encoding and based upon the previewed films contained therein I would guess that was a title slated for release earlier but never made it. I don't necessarily see any issues with it as a result.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack is a nice upgrade over the lossy Dolby Digital track on the DVD. The film utilizes the music score to help drive the story and Jerry Goldsmith's beautiful compositions sound incredible. I noticed improved presence, smooth, strident free treble and refined articulation that enhances its orchestrated elements. Dialogue is rich in clarity, and prominently positioned within the soundstage. This is essentially a dialogue driven film however there are instances where the entire platform is effectively used to draw us in. I found the plane crash sequence to be a good example. Dynamics and low frequency impact are noteworthy, and discretely placed effects coupled with cohesive front/rear pans envelop nicely. There is light atmospheric ambience bled through the surrounds that extends the soundstage to enhance effects such as the rustling of leaves in the wind, falling rain and the simulation of open exterior venues. The final encounter with the bear is exciting and suspenseful as the music coupled along with action onscreen is very engaging. This film's soundtrack particularly its music is essential to the story and it has never sounded more open, detailed or expressive.
- Theatrical trailer
- Previews - Broken arrow, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Flight of the Phoenix, The Siege
The Edge is an entertaining thriller that engages with its well executed screenplay and strong performances by leads Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. It is a personal favorite that I enjoy for the simple yet visceral nature of its story and the rewarding interplay between the two principle characters in Charles and Bob. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring gratifying high definition audio/video quality that clearly represents an improvement over the previous standard definition DVD release. Unfortunately for fans there are no bonus supplements to be found. If like me you enjoy this film, this disc is worth adding to your collection. Otherwise it comes highly recommended as a rental on movie night.
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