ARCHIVE: from Idiot Ego Issue 2
(reprinted without permission)

David Mamet gets my vote for America's most undervalued dramatist (Pulitzer Prize duly noted.) Edmond is one of his earlier works, first published as a play in 1982, and it displays Mamet as his most fearless and relentless creative apex. It's intense. It makes Glengarry Glen Ross look like a Century 21 training video.

The part of Edmond belongs to William H. Macy, who studied in college under Mamet, and who has been working with him in films (State & Main, Spartan) and on the stage for more than twenty years. You can count the number of films which have given Macy top billing on one hand, an it's a shame. This is absolutely his show. The rest of the cast, including several other frequent Mamet colaborators (Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon) and some newer faces (best credit ever: Mena Suvari as "Whore") are basically reduced to excellent background noise. It is worth noting that this is the second time in as many years that the visage of Macy's naked hindquarters has been permanently commited to celluloid. Fearless. The film is not directed by Mamet, who has directed many of his own scripts in the past, but rather by Stuart Gordon, whose work has rarely extended beyond the realm of horror (Reanimator.) Thankfully, it does not suffer for it.

Don't fool yourself; Edmond is no psychopath. I'm not even sure you can call him an anti-hero. Rather, he is a man, reacting (as he must) to the maddening binds and restriction of western civilization. He does and says some terrible things. But... for the right reasons? Mamet seems to pose the question: Who is more despicable? Those who deny themselves these type of actions under the guise of "humanity," or those who give in completely and risk letting it destroy them? Edmond is, as much of Mamet's work, a rumination on one of life's essential catch 22's: the impossibility of true freedom in a bureaucratic world. Must we be automatically dismissive of certain undeniable human and animal instincts? Right or wrong, Edmond Burke cannot do this, and he learns the rewards and consequences of relenting to the machinations of your deepest, most primal (perhaps truest?) urges and desires.

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