Under the Radar Movies: Edmond

Written by David Mamet, Edmond first caught my eye when I noticed the lead role was played by William H. Macy. Macy is criminally under-used as a lead actor, and his parts in ensemble pictures are brilliant, so Edmond was something that piqued my interest. Being written by Mamet surely didn't hurt it's prospects either.

So, now that I've finally taken the time out to watch Edmond, I was left with some awkward impressions. Edmond starts out simply enough with William H. Macy's character Edmond indulging in some cryptic fortune telling, inspired by a slightly less cryptic but apparently significant noticing of numbers repeating in his life. Nothing akin to The Number 23 here, but Edmond pauses to notice the numbers, so the viewer obviously should too. After having his fortune told Edmond spirals out of control, leaving his wife, his sanity (maybe), and his former self behind. His night becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as each event calls back the memory of the tarot card it so closely resembles.

The night is filled with Edmond's search for sex and it's almost comical the difficulties he faces in a bureaucratic sex industry. His rage builds until a confrontation with a mugger frees him of much of his character's anxiety. Edmond, in better spirits, meets a waitress played by Julia Stiles and ends up shagging her silly. I'll accept that as a suspension of disbelief, but ...osh, Macy at 50 taking Stiles home for a night of passionate love-making ... hard to wrap one's head around. Regardless, the couple's tryst is all but stellar, as Edmond's descent into madness makes for some heated after intercourse conversation. Plot twists and turns follow, but I'll leave it for the viewer to discover.

The focus of the movie is centered upon Edmond's descent into madness, and how it supposedly is freedom from the bland, mundane existence we're all forced to face, but Edmond's quest lacks real definition. He seems as shattered by his actions as he is welcoming them, and he is ultimately apologetic, seeking only to return to the life he once had. Later, the new man he has become searches for epiphany in a jail cell, but his philosophical quests are childish and lack any of the real issues that come from the higher roads of the mind. Can we really believe that Edmond is some new man when he and his cellmate speak at length about whether animals are aliens, or some gods sent to watch us?

While Edmond and his descent into madness might not actually parallel any intelligent purpose other than a mid-life crisis, that's not to say the issues and the situations he faces aren't significantly more important. Edmond's rage is fueled by his distaste for the uncaring nature of our modern society, and in more than one scene this society is more than evident. Perhaps being the most powerful theme in the picture, it's believable and more than likely true that the people Edmond sees and their rude and unsavory actions are people we could see any day of the week.

Mamet does wonders with the script though, and look for Macy spouting some of the best lines ever as Edmond. As he waves a WWI combat knife in his underwear and an obvious bout of madness he shouts, "I've got some warlike blood in my veins too..." in a very powerful diatribe. Watch Edmond for Macy's performance, a startling revelation on how rude society has become, and Mamet's script, but don't look to Edmond for any intellectual pursuit or lasting definition, it just isn't as deep or as life-changing as one could hope, and ultimately, that makes Edmond's character a bit of a joke. Also, note that there is an almost ensmeble cast of women in Edmond, with short scenes including Mena Suvari, Julia Stiles, and Denise Richards. Hotness is obviously present, if only for a short while.

The trailer is available here.
The DVD is now on sale at Amazon.


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