The deep end
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.
A hole in the soul: Macy’s Edmond