The deep end

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

ED­MOND Di­rected by Stu­art Gor­don. Star­ring William H Macy, Ju­lia Stiles, Joe Man­tegna, Re­becca Pid­geon, Bai Ling, Mena Su­vari, Denise Richards, Debi Mazar, Jef­frey Combs Club, IFI, Dublin, 82 min MANY crit­ics have seen this strange, ter­ri­fy­ing drama as ev­i­dence that David Mamet, al­ways ec­cen­tric, has fi­nally de­scended into to­tal gib­ber­ing mad­ness. As it hap­pens, Ed­mond, di­rected by, of all peo­ple, Stu­art Gor­don, the man be­hind the grue­some Re-An­i­ma­tor films, is adapted from a play the pro­fane mas­ter wrote a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago. We must, there­fore, as­sume that what­ever was ail­ing him has now passed (or mu­tated into a dif­fer­ent com­plaint).

Ed­mond fo­cuses on William H Macy’s up­tight busi­ness­man, who, af­ter re­ceiv­ing un­happy intelligence from a for­tune teller, re­turns home to tells his wife (Re­becca Pid­geon) that their mar­riage is a sham and, then, heads back to the city for an evening of vi­o­lence and de­bauch­ery. Af­ter a jar­ring en­counter in a bar with Joe Man­tegna (yes, the whole Mamet posse is on board), he em­braces hith­erto re­pressed urges and be­gins spout­ing out racial and ho­mo­pho­bic abuse at any­one who will lis­ten. Worse is to come.

Like an up­mar­ket ver­sion of 1970s sit­coms such as Mind Your Lan­guage and Till Death Us Do Part, Ed­mond of­fers the au­di­ence – safe in the knowl­edge that we are not on the pro­tag­o­nist’s side – per­mis­sion to rel­ish the most colour­ful and foul of racist lan­guage. Sadly, there comes a point, even be­fore the first young wo­man has been chopped to pieces, when the writer's en­thu­si­asm for of­fen­sive ep­i­thets does in­deed veer to­wards the psy­chotic.

Still, Mamet’s psy­cho­log­i­cal melt­downs re­main more in­ter­est­ing than most writ­ers’ lu­cid mas­ter­pieces and, though it never ex­actly makes sense, Ed­mond re­mains queasily com­pelling through­out.

DON­ALD CLARKE

A hole in the soul: Macy’s Ed­mond

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