johnlink ranks EDMOND (2005)

EDMOND is a David Mamet film of the usual kind. This is not his Hollywood turn, as in SPARTAN, this is the style of Mamet script which made him famous. This is a big idea story in the guise of a small film.

I watched EDMOND (2005) on 3.30.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE.

There are four aspects which influence a scene of dialogue. Forgetting the visual aspects of a film, the pure sound of it is effected by the writing, the acting, the directing, and the editing. If any one of these four elements is out of flux, the scene will falter.

A David Mamet script is a delicate piece of art. There is, in his work, a rhythm and a cadence that the words are a slave to, and which the actors, thus are also slave to. It is easy to screw up a Mamet script, and there are moments in this film which do it.

This is a William H. Macy vehicle, and it asks him to drive the bus. His performance is strong enough to do it, though certain of the cameos derail him. But, more than anything, I think the actors are not given a chance to get going. Director Stuart Gordon is a little out of his league here. This is the director of RE-ANIMATOR, not a veteran of deep human drama. Even good actors, like Joe Mantegna, flail in their cameos. Though some (like Bokeem Woodbine and Mena Suvari) fare well, it is mostly touch-and-go. I blame the direction as well as the editing, which (despite the film lasting less than 90 minutes) plods along at a too-slow pace.

This is a film which has a lot of ideas. It is, seemingly, racist and sexist. Macy’s character leaves his wife after a tarot reading. He tries to cheat on her, but finds sex too expensive. A black man mugs him, and he retaliates beating him almost to death and screaming every racist thing he can think of. This animalizes him. He becomes both brutally honest and honestly brutal. He can’t contain this rage and does something terrible, which lands him in jail.

The pacing of the script is strange, as well. The first two-thirds of the movie happen in one night, and the rest of the film progresses over first weeks, then years. It takes a brutal moment of his own, as well as time, for him to become a balanced human being. For him, jail is the best thing that could happen to him. It is a strange story, a strange message, and redeems some of its prejudices in the last moment. But this is certainly not an easy film to watch.

It also has some strange ideas about the nature of sexuality and the role of women. Mamet has never been taken for a feminist, and EDMOND does nothing to help this perception.

My overall feeling of the film is that it is well made in its themes, but does not fully realize the potential of its script.


FILM: 6; MOVIE: 5; ACTING: 4; WRITING: 7 (What is this?)



~ by johnlink00 on March 30, 2010.

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