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David Mamet, what can I say? Ok, he's nuts but usually in a very entertaining way. If you've ever seen one of his plays or films, you'll know what I'm talking about. I was just looking at his list of screenplays. There are the ones that you associate with him, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Winslow Boy, State and Main, The Spanish Prisoner, House of Games. But he also wrote the adapted screenplays for The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Edge, The Untouchables, Wag the Dog, Ronin and Hannibal. Anyway, I guess you know that he likes to write, and what he likes to write is dialog. Glengarry Glen Ross is the prototypical Mamet screenplay. It's nothing but talk. But I like his movies. My fav is The Winslow Boy. It is all talk and I love it.
That brings us to Edmond, written by, but not directed by David Mamet. It tells a classic tale of a man (William H. Macy) in a massive death spiral. At the beginning of the movie he has everything but then, a mercifully short 82 minutes later, he has nothing. In between, he leaves his wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) and then runs into a few of women of ill repute (Bai Ling, Mena Suvari, Denise Richards) and a waitress (Julia Stiles). He also gets scammed, robbed, beaten up, arrested, and raped by a bunch of familiar looking actors including Dulé Hill (The West Wing) and George Wendt (Norm!). It's a lot for 82 minutes. First, Macy stops at a bar for a drink and some top-of-the-line, Mamet-ese from an experienced Mamet-man, Joe Mantegna. Mantegna then sends Macy off to begin his downward spiral. Macy is crazed and I think having some kind of psychotic break.
To understand Edmond better, you need to know that Mamet wrote this play when he was going through a nasty divorce from his first wife, Lindsay Crouse. Apparently, all of Mamet's pent up anger and violent thoughts against Crouse were spilled into Edmond. Crouse, of course, was amazing in Mamet's House of Games. His second wife, Rebecca Pidgeon (The Spanish Prisoner, The Winslow Boy) who plays Macy's wife in Edmond (How about that for transference?) is a very idiosyncratic actress, i.e., very strange. Ling, Suvari, Richards and Stiles would seem to be enough to help any man to get over a bad divorce. But maybe having Rebecca Pidgeon, Mamet's second wife playing Lindsay Crouse, Mamet's first wife is enough to give anyone, even the mild mannered William H. Macy, a psychotic break. Macy is another Mamet-man. In fact, he went to college with Mamet. The fact that Macy, famous for his mousy roles in films is this guy, who goes completely nuts, adds to the emotional force of Edmond. But then Macy went pretty wild in The Cooler and had his wife kidnapped in Fargo so maybe this role isn't such a stretch.
Edmond is directed by Stuart Gordon, a horror film director best known for Re-Animator. The combination of an angry, violent Mamet with the horror-meister Gordon led to a film that leaves the audience stunned, to say the least. I saw it at the Nantucket Film Festival, and several people got up and walked out during the most violent scene in the movie. One man was yelling as he stomped out of the theatre. So be warned. This is a troubling film. But it is only playing in New York City at the moment so you may be safe.