Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Edge of Love

IMDB says....Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant, charismatic poet who loves them both.
2008, 110 minutes, unrated.

The 73rd Virgin says...Crappy synopsis there IMDB. Makes me want to go take Netflix's.  Anywhoo, The title sounds like a satire on soap operas, or maybe not a satire come to think of it, but for some reason I kept watching.

I don't know if Dylan Thomas was quite THIS monstrous in real life and there is a long qualifying disclaimer at the very end of the credits, so maybe he wasn't. The long and the short of it is that he may have set up a WWII vet to be accused of threatening his life and illegally posessing a firearm. This is England after all, where vets aren't trusted to keep arms.

I appreciated the inexpensive but atmospheric re-creation of civilian London during the Blitz. All the characters' casual attitude toward their own safety sets the scene for tawdry envy and boredom-driven adultery. Into this maw swoops Cillian Murphy as the idealistic and romantic Army(?) recruit who is besotted with Knightley's character. Murphy is so improbably pretty that he's rather threatening, like in Batman, especially when he develops a bad case of post war battle-rattle.

All the acting is fine. Keira Knightley is very good, and even sings, according to the credits. Her part requires her to go from hard-bitten damaged goods, to an ambivalent mother, to a supportive wife of a PTSD veteran, but I sorta bought it. The baby she obsessively carries around eventually becomes a shield of sorts (and man, that baby stayed at about 13 months for YEARS). Sienna Miller's part sort of gets lost halfway through, but she's also very appealing as the needy, self-destructive wife of Thomas. Mark Rhys makes it seem reasonable that a smelly, dumpy alcoholic could make it as a womanizer in a simpler time.

The direction and script zig-zag every which improbable way but I cared enough about the characters to stay with it. I'm surprised that Knightley would make another movie so similar to "Atonement" so soon, but here I shall blaspheme and say this movie is better than "Atonement". Not much of an endorsement, I know, but there you are.

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