[Screen It]


(1997) (Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Heavy Heavy Heavy Mild
Minor Minor Heavy None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Mild Minor Mild Moderate

Action/Adventure: Two men must battle not only the Alaska wilderness they're stranded in, but also their own fear and wariness of each other.
An intellectual billionaire, Charles Morse (ANTHONY HOPKINS), his supermodel wife, Mickey (ELLE MACPHERSON), and her fashion photographer, Robert Green (ALEC BALDWIN) head to the sprawling and beautiful Alaskan wilderness for a photo shoot. After celebrating Charles' birthday and hearing stories about man-eating Kodiak bears, Charles and Robert, along with their assistant Stephen (HAROLD PERRINEAU), fly off looking for a local hunter. They run into a flock of birds, though, and crash in a remote area. Their pilot is killed and three find themselves lost, hungry, and cold. Charles, a well-studied and practical man, takes charge and plots their self-rescue, but a run-in with an angry bear changes their plans. After killing Stephen, it begins to hunt the other men who must do what they can to protect themselves. They must also deal with the weather, their self-doubts, and the fact that Charles believes Robert's having an affair with his wife and may be plotting to kill him for her, and his money.
If they like action & suspense movies, or are fans of someone in the cast, they might, but preteens will probably have little interest in this film.
For language and some adventure gore/violence.
  • ANTHONY HOPKINS plays a well-educated billionaire who must not only battle the elements and a man-eating bear, but he must also deal with Robert whom he believes is plotting to kill him for his supermodel wife and their money. In the end, it's his intelligence that allows him to survive.
  • ALEC BALDWIN plays a fashion photographer (he occasionally smokes) who is having an affair with Micky and does try to kill Charles.


    OUR TAKE: 8 out of 10
    This is a rather entertaining and at times masterfully suspenseful film starring some of the more charismatic actors working today. While one would never expect to see an Oscar winning performer such as Anthony Hopkins (excuse me, Sir Anthony Hopkins) fighting man-eating bears in the Alaskan wilderness, he's actually quite believable in the role. Although the character's a bit old for such activities, his mind is still razor sharp and that's what gives him the advantage in this story, and Hopkins pulls off this role with mastery and ease. Baldwin is good as the smarmy photographer and actually plays down his usual over-the-top masculinity, while MacPherson is really just there as eye candy whose purpose is to supply the background story of the plot. The film varies its approach in what the men must battle, be it themselves, the elements, or a very persistent killer bear. It's in those latter scenes that the movie takes on a "Jaws" on land feeling, and while they are quite suspenseful and well-done, they seem to stand apart from the main film that is really about man being the most dangerous creature to deal with. That part is masterfully set up in an opening scene where we've just heard about killer bears and not leaving food out in the kitchen. Micky then asks Charles to make her a sandwich and by lantern light he finds the outside kitchen door open and a ham sitting out on the table. The scene is quite suspenseful and also introduces the element that someone may be trying to kill him which of course leads to the latter confrontational scenes.

    Like many other action films before it, this one does have its share of continuity and logic problems. Snow appears and disappears within the same scene, and the men often purposefully stand in the ice cold lake or the chilly rain when earlier they seemed like they'd die from their unexpected flight into the lake and came out uncontrollably shivering. Many events are also telegraphed at us (also known as foreshadowing) such as talk of man-eating bears from a lodge owner with huge scars on his face (I wonder what caused those and whether our characters will have similar encounters?), and a discussion about a painted animal scene on an oar where a rabbit is calm despite the presence of a menacing panther because the rabbit can outsmart the feline. Guess which characters are represented in that story and who will survive by what means by the end? Still, despite these obvious indicators of things to come, the film manages to always be interesting and quite thrilling, and renowned playwright David Mamet's dialogue is first-rate. It's because of those qualities and the great performance from Hopkins that we give "The Edge" an 8 out of 10.

    Parents will probably be most concerned with the suspense elements of the film that include long sequences where a man-eating bear chases after and attacks the men. In one scene a man is mauled and finally killed and there's quite a bit of blood in that scene and in others. Profanity is extreme with nearly 30 "f" and "s" words combined, and one of the characters turns out to have murderous intentions toward the other. On a positive note, the film does show that intelligence is the most powerful weapon (Charles survives using his) which is a good thing for children of any age to learn. Since some kids will want to see this film, we suggest that you examine the content before allowing them to do so (especially for younger kids who might not be able to handle the intense material).

  • Everyone celebrates Charles' birthday by drinking champagne and the lodge manager drinks what may be beer.
  • Robert makes a comment to Charles about how their situation is "a little different than snorting coke (cocaine) of a girl's hipbones."
  • Robert finds an old bottle of whisky in a deserted cabin and drinks from it.
  • The men's plane runs into a flock of birds, tearing many of them up and sending blood into the cockpit. We also see that the engine and propeller are covered in blood.
  • Stephen accidentally cuts himself with a knife and his leg is very bloody.
  • Stephen is very bloody and has a large chunk taken out of leg when a bear attacks him.
  • Robert has some bloody scrapes and cuts on his face.
  • Charles slices open his finger (that's then a little bloody) so as to use his blood as a lure for the bear.
  • Robert's bloody after a bear hits him with a swipe of its paw. Later, the bear has a bloody spear sticking out of it.
  • Robert's bloody after falling into a bear trap where we see a sharpened stick jutting out of his leg. Later, as Charles takes off the tourniquet, bloody squirts out and runs from his wound and Robert's hands are also soaked in his own blood.
  • Charles, while being quite the intellectual billionaire, does have just a little bit of an elitist aura about him.
  • Robert not only has been having an affair with Micky, but he also tries to kill Charles for her and for their money.
  • After being told not to leave food out in the kitchen due to the possibility of man-eating bears, Charles goes into the kitchen to make Micky a sandwich. Illuminated just by lantern light, Charles notices that the outside door is open and that a ham has been left out, and then thinks the worst.
  • The men's plane runs into a flock of birds that damage the plane and ultimately send it crashing toward the ground. It smacks into a lake and sinks, however, and the men must get out before they drown.
  • The men have several encounters with a large bear that tries to attack them. They run from it several times, and in another scene they try to cross a fallen tree over a raging, river-filled gorge that Charles is nearly swept away in.
  • A bear attacks and, after a minute or so, kills Stephen in front of Charles and Robert.
  • The men, encircled by their own fires, anxiously watch for the bear that's hidden somewhere in the nighttime darkness. The next day, they similarly wait for the bear to show up and then have a rather dangerous encounter with it.
  • Robert holds a rifle on Charles as he prepares to shoot him.
  • Rifle: Carried by a hunter as seen in a photo.
  • Knife: Given to Charles as a birthday gift and later used in the wilderness.
  • Rifle: Found in a deserted cabin and aimed by Robert at Charles when he plans on killing him.
  • Phrases: "Bitch" (not directed at women), "Screwing" (used sexually) and "Nuts" (crazy).
  • Charles is surprised by an encounter with what appears to be a bear at the end of a suspenseful scene.
  • There is a heavy amount of suspenseful music throughout a great deal of the film.
  • None.
  • At least 13 "f" words (2 used with "mother") and the word "screwing" is used sexually, 14 "s" words, 5 hells, 3 S.O.B.'s, and 9 uses of "Jesus," 7 uses each of "G-damn" and "Oh God," 3 uses of "For God's sakes," and 1 use each of "My God," "Lord," "Christ," "Oh my God," "By God," "God" and "For the love of God" as exclamations.
  • Seeing Micky, a mechanic says, "Man, what I wouldn't do to get my hands on her." When asked by Charles about what he's referring to, the man says Charles' plane.
  • Robert makes generalizations about Charles and his wealth and comments on his "latent homosexuality." He then jokes about the two of them getting into a hot tub when they return, to "bare" their feelings.
  • It's implied that Robert and Micky are having an affair (she gives him a wristwatch with the inscription, "For all the nights."), but nothing's ever seen.
  • Robert smokes several times.
  • A crew member smokes.
  • We see a paddle that has a panther painted on one side and a pipe smoking rabbit on the other (and Charles and others talk about it).
  • Charles suspects that Micky is having an affair with Robert.
  • That Charles is successful and survives in the wilderness due to his intelligence, education and knowledge.
  • What to do if you get lost/stranded in the woods.
  • The men's plane runs into a flock of birds, tearing many of them up and sending blood into the cockpit.
  • A bear attacks and, after a minute or so, kills Stephen in front of Charles and Robert.
  • Charles slices open his finger to use his blood as a lure for the bear.
  • Charles and Robert fight a bear by jabbing it with spears while it hits both of them with its paw. It then charges at Charles who impales the bear, killing it.
  • Robert threatens to kill Charles with a rifle.
  • Robert falls into a bear trap where a sharpened spear impales his leg.

  • Reviewed September 16, 1997

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