The Edge of Love (15)

Film

Romance

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jun 17 2008

The opening close-up of Keira Knightley’s bright red, heavily digitised lips as she sings on a tube platform at night says it all: war is an escapist fantasy in John Maybury’s claustrophobic, boozy, sensual vision of 1940s London as experienced by Dylan Thomas and the two women in his life. His wife Caitlin (Sienna Miller) and childhood lover Vera (Knightley) are having a lovely war of their own over the self-indulgent but likeable poet (Matthew Rhys): their world is more nylons than NCOs, more alcohol than air raids. Such is Maybury’s focus on their pleasures that their cigarettes sound as if he’s planted microphones in the burning tobacco.

The reality of the Blitz is left to archive as Maybury keeps things personal, depicting alleyways at night, smoky pubs and cramped flats as an intense friendship builds between Caitlin and Vera; Vera meets and marries William (Cillian Murphy), a straight-backed soldier who leaves for service overseas; and Caitlin and Vera buzz around Thomas like ‘Jules et Jim’ after a sex change.

Maybury’s shooting style is dark and angular; the production design, costumes and make-up are all too precious. If only Maybury let a little air out of his film: every window comes with a shaft of light; every mirror catches the camera’s eye. Visually, things lighten up when the trio move to a pair of bungalows in Wales, although the mood becomes more downbeat and destructive when a shell-shocked William returns from Greece to wonder why his wife and friends are living the life of Bacchus with his money. Ultimately, Sharman Macdonald’s screenplay is too muddled, too unfocused – is it about Thomas? is it about Vera and Caitlin? is it about Vera and William’s marriage? – although Maybury’s cinematic invention is never less than imaginative.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jun 20, 2008

Duration:

111 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|11
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John Cooper

The worst film I have seen in a long time. You can't blame the poor actors who were required to chain-smoke throughout every scene. The indulgence of the script was only matched only by the pretentiousness of the direction. This was an incredibly boring and uninvolving film . . . . I watched it in 10 minute segments over two days . . wondering whether it was ever going to get any better. Sadly it didn't. Particularly nauseous are the attempts to forge a feminist interpretation. One star for the hapless actors whose agents should have advised them to steer clear.

atreyu

Time Out readers should be congratulated for identifying this as a dud. Dialogue was uninteresting eg " we are all innocent in Dylan" - what possible context could justify that rubbish; the tiresome close ups, superfluous songs and bombing scenes, gratuitous nudity and irrelevant poetry readings. The bored look from Mathew Rhys sums up the film entirely.

Cynffig

I watched this pretentious, boring, pseudo-artistic rubbish in Cardiff today, and nearly walked out half way through to watch something more absorbing, like the building work. Was Matthew Rhys asked to play it like Richard Burton? Where did Keira find her drippy accent? From watching newsreader Huw Edwards? Sienna's didn't matter, because she covered all bases with English, Irish and Welsh in turn.Why did she call Dylan Dullan sometimes, then Dillan ? The only decent performance was from Cillian Murphy- the only character you could care about. The film being shot in gloomy half light in London, then in rain in Wales ( natch) it was thoroughly depressing. Worst, it was utterly boring. I thought Atonement superb. This was plain awful. Please don't ever let English writers get involved in essentially a Welsh theme ever again. The dialogue was not only banal, it was totally unconvincing in the Welsh context.

Cynffig

I nearly wlked out of this tedious rubbish half way through. Amateurishly made, it was boring beyond, and confirms my long-held belief that \English people should never be allowed to make a film largely about the Welsh. Matthew Rhys was half decent, but played Dylan with a Richard Burton, not Dylan accent.Keira's accent was pure twp Welsh. Think of newsreader Huw Edwards at his worst. Sienna's didnt matter. It veered anyway between English, Irish and Welsh.The one decent performance came from Ciaran Murphy. His was the only character you could care about. As my wife said when a basement London club was bombed, let's hope they were all bumped off.The whole load of tosh was depressingly conducted in seme-light, or else in the pouring rain. It's set in Wales, right? So it has to rain. The dialogue was banal beyond belief. Richard and Judy were reported to have loved it. I'll never read their book recommendations again.

stowbury

This is a masterful piece of film-making, with many themes simmering and occasionally boiling over in this warts and all study of the poet's bohemian, self-indulgent wartime years that span the aerial bombardments of London and the outward tranquillity of a Welsh coastal retreat - the borderlines between friendship, lust and love, dedication to art and experience versus practical concerns, jealousy, rivalry, cowardice and egotism versus heroism and self-sacrifice and more. A mature, subtle script that suggests and occasionally brings into dramatic focus the underlying tensions is well served by perfect performances (apart from the odd inappropriate smiling that Keira Knightley is prone to, though perhaps under direction this time as the other characters themselves often mention it). But above all the exquisite visual composition of each moment, with inventive and elegant use of close-up, camera angle and lighting, including pointillistic faux home movie footage, is a wonder and joy to behold. It's as continuously beautiful to look at as the Conformist, but the relationships here are more convincing and the narrative more engaging. A very rare type of film these days - it holds the attention and stirs the emotions without abandoning artistic integrity and succumbing to manipulative, superficial shortcuts.

stowbury

This is a masterful piece of film-making, with many themes simmering and occasionally boiling over in this warts and all study of the poet's bohemian, self-indulgent wartime years that span the aerial bombardments of London and the outward tranquillity of a Welsh coastal retreat - the borderlines between friendship, lust and love, dedication to art and experience versus practical concerns, jealousy, rivalry, cowardice and egotism versus heroism and self-sacrifice and more. A mature, subtle script that suggests and occasionally brings into dramatic focus the underlying tensions is well served by perfect performances (apart from the odd inappropriate smiling that Keira Knightley is prone to, though perhaps under direction this time as the other characters themselves often mention it). But above all the exquisite visual composition of each moment, with inventive and elegant use of close-up, camera angle and lighting, including pointillistic faux home movie footage, is a wonder and joy to behold. It's as continuously beautiful to look at as the Conformist, but the relationships here are more convincing and the narrative more engaging. A very rare type of film these days - it holds the attention and stirs the emotions without abandoning artistic integrity and succumbing to manipulative, superficial shortcuts.

Sandra

Disjointed film with several themes running through which were not somehow "connected" up to make a whole. Sienna Miller was the stronger actress. It didn't really hang together and was overall depressing to watch

Granita

Please don't waste your time or money watching this meaningless and plotless film.

Matt Lloyd

Throughly enjoyed the film and the performances. How you can describe this film as vile is beside me. Its ragged at times but I think as the film progresses this adds to the film. Miller is outstanding and Keira's accent superb. Rhys is frightening at times and intense. All makes for a deep, sometimes poignant and well shot/acted film.

Matt Lloyd

Throughly enjoyed the film and the performances. How you can describe this film as vile is beside me. Its ragged at times but I think as the film progresses this adds to the film. Miller is outstanding and Keira's accent superb. Rhys is frightening at times and intense. All makes for a deep, sometimes poignant and well shot/acted film.

usman khawaja

A mayhem by Maybury and Macdonald will be the most appropriate way of describing this absolutely vile piece of cinema which is devoid of any sense of passion or doom,as it leaves neither it's characters with any dignity nor the human spirit with any redemtion as everyone indulges in a mock play of pedantic mood swings at the expense of the audience to torture them ,the very setting of the blitz with vera singing and entertaining the victims in the bomb shelters is tasteless as london burns and people die overhead ,that she does so in the style of Garbo in Grand hotel is preposterously funny and vicious. Meanwhile Dylan is blessed with the conception that because he is a poet and has to create he has to feed off the energy of others to create and he uses that excuse to frolic with any thing in a frock and piss while drunk in the living room of his hosts . It might be the war but there does not seem to be any rationing or dearth as booze ,tobacoo and nylons and makeup are overabundant for the two seriously retarded women played by miller and khightley ,while miller-MRS.DYLAN is a nympho maniac who follows in the footsteps of dylan and screws anything in pants while also showing the licentious lesbian tendencies of the b-grade trashy pseudo-intellectual caricateures of liberated female libertines from mediocre european art cinema , she is reduced to a spoof by the awful script which takes sienna miller for a ride while a smitten soldier in the form of william-MURPHY proposes to marry VERA-keira after bedding her in a badly shot and poorly lit LOVE scene which wants to convince us that maybury is making DONT LOOK NOW ,in fact he is making a spoof rather inadvertently of Closer or Carnal knowledge and any one aware of the existence of these movies needs to take some medication along to help them from wanting to kill the entire team out of tedious dismay or self-frustration at the dismally vapid character study , the Rembrandt style interiors are matched by the Turner inspired outdoors and the cameraman irritates even more with his silly antics ,the distraction is ultimately fatal and suffocates you to actually sympathize with william who tries to put a violent end to this psychotic and schizoid charade with a gun in the finale , i wish he had taken to those extremes earlier as this is an exquisite and excruciating torture and that would have been a very sympathetic gesture towards the audience , the 2 whining kids say it all as the two women compete to share the bed and bath of dylan and numerous other men in an excuse that it is not love but just fucking ,i was left to wonder who was the creative genius who edited this totally misconceived tale of pointless debauchery which really has nothing to say either as a conception of love or sexual behaviour ,if all that was required was some trashy dialogue and keira showing her tits then we could have been spared this disgrace ,as there is a sharp EDGE BETWEEN ART AND ARTIFICE ,AND THIS IS THE MOST AERIFICIAL TAKE ON LOVE OR SEX I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME. as for ATONEMENT ,it is blasphemous to even compare that work with the likes of this self indulgent mockery of artistic senses ,and if keira had any sense she ought to have avoided this by a million miles after that classic ,it just demonstrates you need more than stars and frames lit like paintings from the baroque to impressionist art to make good cinema and that ATONEMENT was achieved by the smart pen of Hampton and the hard work of Wright rather then the charms of knightley and the costume designer. This is a sheer waste of celluloid and a disgusting discourse on the obsession of love which makes even a hard core porno look more romantic as the sharp edges of the razor like camera and the vulgarity of the familiar dialogues actually sound like someone sharpening knives ,a shame for everyone concerned with this mournful and dreary epic filmed in very poor taste in the name of art as this is a pretense not even worthy of the likes of the spoof horrors like Cottage ,which was easily the worst British movie i saw this year .avoid like the plague if you liked atonement ,otherwise you can watch it for the sheer pleasure of comparing the two pieces and arriving at your own conclusion which is the only satisfaction i derived out of this experience and it was certainly worth it.