Edmond (2006)

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Review #252 of 365
Film: Edmond (2006) [R] 82 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.00
Where Viewed: Regency Tamarac Square, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 20 September 2006
Time: 7:45 p.m.

Film's Offiical Site: www.edmondthefilm.com
Directed by: Stuart Gordon
Screenplay by: David Mamet based on his original play, "Edmond"
Featured Cast (Where I Remember Him/Her From):

William H. Macy (Everyone's Hero & Fargo) • Julia Stiles (The Bourne Supremacy) • Joe Mantegna ("Joan of Arcadia") • Ling Bai (Lords of Dogtown) • Jeffrey Combs ("The 4400") • Denise Richards (Wild Things) • Mena Suvari (American Beauty) • Dylan Walsh (The Lake House) • Russell Hornsby (Something New) • Debi Mazar ("Entourage") • Rebecca Pidgeon (Heist) • Lionel Mark Smith (State and Main) • George Wendt ("Cheers") • Bokeem Woodbine (Ray)


Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
My first piece of advice regarding Stuart Gordon's film based on David Mamet's play "Edmond" is not to believe the synopses you might read regarding what the film is about. 25 words cannot capture the essence of this film let alone adequately prepare you for what you are about to choose to see. The second piece of advice is that if you visit a fortune teller and she deals out about 12 death related cards in a row, and then says, "You are not where you belong", don't assume that means you should leave your wife and spend all night wrecking what little else might be left of your life. After all, she might just mean that you should be home with your wife not spending your money on fortune tellers.

"Mr. Macy does an incredible job with the role, and he could be a dark horse for a best actor nod."
This is a story of Edmond played brilliantly by Willliam H. Macy in what should finally replace Fargo in his biography when it comes to roles that define his capacity as an actor. Ironically, most people probably think of Macy as more of a character actor than a leading man. Yet, he fulfills the duties of this story from opening confrontation with his wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) to his final cuddle in prison with his cellmate (Bokeem Woodbine). As indicated, Edmond's tale gets rolling when he feels drawn to get his fortune told on a dark evening in his 47th year. The fortune teller deals out nasty card after bloody dead card one after another. At last, she says, "You don't belong here". This one statement catalyzes an inexorable chain of events that lead him on a treacherous evening of madness. Truly, he goes insane. He dumps his wife in a dialog exchange that is so David Mamet. When the play was new, it probably would have sounded less David Mamet, but in 2006, it's just plain David Mamet—not that there's anything wrong with David Mamet, of course. He's one of the very best, modern American playwrights of the past century, and nobody writes dialog like he does. In this case, however, the William H. Macy delivery of this "I find you boring" speech directed at Rebecca Pidgeon, whom no offense, is by far the more attractive of the pair, is nearly laughable. You can sense her disdain well up over his comments and her subsequent realization that actually, she should be the one leaving him and not the other way around. He leaves their apartment with a Post-It® note in hand given to him by his wife indicating that his appointment with a client has been changed to 1:15. I mention this only because 115 pops up throughout the story. Next up, he goes to a bar to get a drink where he runs into a guy played by Joe Mantegna. The two strike up a conversation with Joe expounding on his philosophies of why he would prefer to be black. Clearly, he is a white guy who doesn't have a clue about race. I'd say he is a racist, except that he's worse. He's a racist that has done all of the analysis such that he doesn't believe he's a racist anymore, he believes he's just right. If you are not a racist or a person like his character, you will find even just listening to him disgusting. I wanted to boo him, but the theatre had only five people in it, and I knew I'd stand out. The net result of their conversation is that he gives Edmond the ticket in the form of a business card--momentarily the card changes in Edmond's mind to the Tarot Hierophant Card, a card that represents the struggle between obedience and insubordination)—and ticket to his next stop, a fancy bar called the Allegro. It is here that he begins his night-long conquest to have sexual relations with a woman. It is here, also, that we learn that he wants to do this very much, but he wants to do it on the cheap. He has developed some sort of sense that he is entitled to things, that he shouldn't have to pay for them, or not a lot for them anyway. He fails to have enough money or willingness to pay for successive women: the Allegro Girl (Denise Richards), peep show girl (Ling Bai), and high price call girl (Mena Suvari). He tries his hand at three card monte (where cards again play a dirty trick on him). When he loses and accuses the dealer of wrong-doing, he gets beaten up and his wallet stolen. A bad run-in with a hotel clerk sends him to a pawn shop where he pawns his wedding ring and buys an illegal military knife from the owner (George Wendt). After a pimp (Lionel Mark Smith) tries to rob him and he pulls the knife and does a number on him leaving him for dead, he goes to a bar with a new found confidence. This allows him to snare and beguile the waitress, Glenna (Julia Stiles), and take her home for the long-awaited activity. Afterward, he takes the final plunge into madness in a violent and shocking scene the likes of which we've not seen since American Psycho. From there, either the story deteriorates or Edmond's madness comes to life in the plot it's not clear which. He ends up in cell 115 where he lives out his days philosophizing with his cellmate about life and death. Not much of what he says makes sense. It's pretty clear that he really has gone mad, but apparently not mad enough to be in a psych prison or to have used the insanity plea in his defense. As for the 115 recurrence, some reports have claimed it was just circumstance. That's hard to believe. Some research into the number reveals it to be a lucky number based on the rules of lucky numbers by Stanislav Ulam, the Polish mathematician involved in the Manhattan Project. The lucky numbers are a series, similar to prime numbers. Could that have anything to do with it? Well, all I know is that the number turns out to be very unlucky for Edmond. Meanwhile, Edmond Burke is the famous Irish writer of the late 1700s who wrote extensively about government abuse in Britain.

"…the story and the ideas seem dated, as if to wonder, "Why are you just now realizing this?" Had the movie been made closer to the time of the debut of the play upon which it was based, 1982, it might have resonated better and carried a more powerful punch."
Could that be a coincidence? I don't think that David Mamet knows the meaning of the word 'coincidence'; he chooses everything for a reason. He embeds his stories with layers of meanings and gets at the root of the underlying tensions within all people. So while this story is rich with insight and meaning, it evolves into a philosophy exercise. It doesn't make for the greatest movie plot. Mr. Macy does an incredible job with the role, and he could be a dark horse for a best actor nod. The competition in the best actor category is going to be tough this year, and the timing of this film's release mid-summer in independent theatres will not help it reach a wider audience. Still, if the studio promotes the role during voting time, it's difficult to avoid giving him and this role strong consideration. Overall, however, the story and the ideas seem dated, as if, "Why are you just now realizing this?" Which, ironically, it what his wife asks Edmond when he announces he's leaving. Had the movie been made closer to the time of the debut of the play upon which it was based, 1982, it might have resonated better and carried a more powerful punch.

Edmond [DVD](2005)

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Other Projects Featuring Edmond (2006) Cast Members
William H. MacyJulia StilesJoe Mantegna
Ling BaiJeffrey CombsDenise Richards
Mena SuvariDylan WalshRussell Hornsby
Debi MazarRebecca PidgeonLionel Mark Smith
Marcus ThomasJack WallaceGeorge Wendt
Bokeem Woodbine
Other Projects Involving Edmond (2006) Director
Stuart Gordon
Other Projects Involving Edmond (2006) Writer
David Mamet


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Edmond (2006) Review-lite [150-word cap]
Regarding Stuart Gordon's film based on David Mamet's 1982 play "Edmond" you are not to believe the film's synopses. Twenty-five words hardly capture the essence let alone prepare you for what you are about to see in the film. Regarding fortune tellers, don't embrace crass comments made based readings to mean you should leave your wife and spend the rest of the evening wrecking what little else might be left of your life. William H. Macy, sure to be a dark horse hopeful for an Academy Award® nomination, portrays the lead role of Edmond Burke—financial guy in his former life, man on a verge of a nervous and murderous breakdown in his new life. As his evening, post-martital break-up, progresses, he encounters various characters who play pivotal parts in his Tarot card-catalyzed cascade into the morass of insanity. A mid-80s release would have suited the film better.

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