During a sequence near the beginning of Carol Morley’s Edge, two of the main characters ask each other about their worst memories.
During a sequence near the
beginning of Carol Morley’s Edge, two of the main characters ask each other
about their worst memories. Philip (Joseph
Dempsie) hesitates before telling Sophie (Nichola Burley) that it was when his Dad died; when he returns the
question, she looks troubled and refuses to respond. This snapshot of dialogue
not only mirrors the film’s tone, but also reflects one of its main flaws. Edge
is so preoccupied with giving each of its characters a troubled back-story that
it loses its attempt at realism, drowning any moments of natural dialogue in an
awkwardly forced catharsis.
film centres around six lost souls whose lives converge in a hotel by the
coast. Philip and Sophie are the young pair who have arranged via the internet
to meet for the first time; Glen (Paul
Hilton) is a faded musician who befriends the neurotic Elly (Maxine Peake); Linda (Julie T. Wallace) is a maid at the
hotel, who forms an unlikely friendship with Wendy (Marjorie Yates), a lonely woman with suicidal tendencies. All of
these characters seem to be searching for some kind of closure or redemption
for a past action and the film wastes no time in making this clear through a
series of melodramatic exchanges. Unfortunately, this “past demons” theme is
gradually overused to the point of exhaustion, with each character being given
their own confessional-style monologue, recounting tragic life stories that
eventually start to feel like obvious plot devices.
actors themselves perform well with the material they have. Most of the
performances are solid, and Marjorie Yates and Maxine Peake are especially
convincing in their respective roles. The problem lies in the majority of the
dialogue, which is so plainly focussed towards leading the characters to their
separate confessions that it loses a lot of its subtlety. Faded guitarist Glen,
for instance, comes across as a cardboard cut-out of the faded musician
stereotype. Aside from the fact that his presence at the hotel is fairly
inexplicable, he also lacks any real depth; his admission of never actually
getting into the top 40 of the charts appears as just another transparent
attempt to crowbar in a back-story.
most frustrating thing about Edge, though, is how much better it could have
been. The soundtrack is excellent and Mary
Farbrother’s cinematography does a good job of capturing the wild, coastal
location. There are also certain moments of dialogue that stand out; Wendy’s Alan Bennett-style monologue about her
husband running off with a male friend of the family is tinged with the
poignancy and dry humour that the rest of the script could have benefited from.
however, Morley’s film is a frustrating and unsatisfying one. Perhaps if just
two of the six characters had been focussed on in more depth, then the film
might feel less fragmented and have more room for character development.
Instead, we are left with six narratives that don’t quite fit together and an
ending that feels like a desperate attempt to rescue the incongruous plot.