Directed by: Stuart Gordon
Premise: A mild-mannered businessman (William H. Macy) reaches a breaking point in his relationship with his wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) and goes out on the town in an attempt to recover his masculinity. In the process he violently unleashes his own repressed misogyny and racism.
What Works: Edmond is an extraordinary film that uses a sharp focus to sketch a man on the threshold of a break down, struggling to reclaim his masculinity but confusing violence with enlightenment. Macy is often cast as weak willed middle class characters, but his work in Edmond stands as one of his best performances. He uses his ability to make pathetic characters sympathetic and complex, and his role in this film allows Macy tremendous latitude to push the insanity to new levels. Edmond focuses largely on the protagonist’s interaction with women and his misogyny and how that takes shape. The film is smart about this. Edmond is not an overt woman hater or an overt racist, but his anxiety about sex, his dissatisfaction with his sex life, his fear of people of other races, and his anger about these things materializes through violence and hate. The film’s rise and fall, with Edmond’s initial dissatisfaction, his temporary recovery of his manhood through violence, and his eventual fall when that illusion of empowerment is shattered, is masterfully done in the David Mamet’s screenplay. Edmond is directed by Stuart Gordon, a filmmaker best known for pictures like Re-Animator, and written by David Mamet, a screenwriter usually associated with critically successful cinema like The Postman Always Rings Twice and Glengarry Glen Ross. The combination of Gordon’s direction, Macy’s acting, and Mamet’s writing is complimentary and these three masters work together to produce an extraordinary piece of film.
What Doesn’t: One of screenwriter David Mamet’s faults is a tendency to let dialogue sequences go on and on and Edmond features this in several places.
DVD extras: Commentary track, featurette, and deleted scenes.
Bottom Line: Edmond is an intense and original film that deals frankly with some of the issues facing middle class Caucasians. While some of these issues were also dealt with in Fight Club and American Psycho, this small film features one of William H. Macy’s best performances and is further proof that he is one of the finest actors working in Hollywood today.
Episode: #143 (June 3, 2007)