The Edge

Given that most homicidal movie fantasies are rated G or PG, it’s baffling that this harmless 1997 movie about surviving in the Alaskan wilderness was assigned an R. I can say without irony that it’s an excellent, rousing adventure film for ten-year-old boyswith sincere moral lessons about self-reliance, self-respect, marital fidelity, and money (the latter mainly as a signifier of wisdom) that seem perfectly suited for that age group. David Mamet’s original script reeks with macho awe of wealth and nature, and the landscapes are often stunning. Anthony Hopkins plays a bookish billionaire superman who decides to accompany his fashion-model wife (Elle Macpherson) on an exotic shoot in Alaska. On a side trip with her photographer (Alec Baldwin) and his assistant (Harold Perrineau) their plane crashes, and the three men struggle to survive in the wilderness, matching wits, courage, and poundage with a humongous killer bear. Some of the individual details are far from plausible, but as this is a boys’ fantasy and parable it hardly matters. Too bad only grown-ups with the innocence of ten-year-olds can enjoy it. Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, Mulholland Falls) directed. (JR)

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