"The Razor's Edge" is Bill Murray's first serious movie. Until this one he was best remembered as a goofball in movies like Caddyshack and Stripes, or a comedian in Ghostbusters. "Edge" was made a full nine years before his best dramatic role as Phil in the superb 1993 film, "Groundhog Day." I like "Edge" very much because it takes the time to develop the characters, and examines Larry's quest to find "the meaning of life" after his WWI experiences.
some SPOILERS follow, you may not want to read any further if you have not yet seen "The Razor's Edge."
The film begins outdoors at the Lake Forest, Il college graduating class party, everyone is joyful, nicely dressed, there are rides and a kissing booth. Larry (Murray) and his best friend Gray have volunteered to be ambulance drivers for the war. Larry is a shallow, charming guy, but comes home from the war changed, after seeing the realities of friends getting killed right next to him. He postpones his marriage and leaves his fiancee at home as he travels to France, and eventually to Tibet, for his own search for the meaning of life.
His awareness is heightened while, working in a mine, he pushes his boozing supervisor to safety as a rail car is about to kill him. He does end up in Tibet, has an experience on the top of a mountain, and finds the internal peace that he was looking for.
Meanwhile, his fiancee, looking for a family and stability, marries his best friend, Gray. His one true love, Sophie, had married Bob, but Bob and their son were killed in a wreck by a drunken driver. Sophie eventually ends up in a Paris brothel, never recovering from her tragedy. The economic depression of the 1920s hit, making those formerly wealthy people distraught. Larry helps his old friend relax, coin in hand, and the headaches disappear.
When Larry meets up with Sophie again, he rescues her from the brothel, sobers her up, they plan to marry. Until she has a relapse, there is a fight in the brothel, Larry gets beat up, the next day Sophie's body is found in the river, her throat had been slashed. But Larry is somber, he knows each of us is really alone in the world anyway. Disappointed, he finally heads back home, America. In the last, symbolic scene, he is walking up a very long flight of concrete stairs outside, and as he gets nearer the top, starts to run up them.
The DVD is just OK. There are many artifacts on the image, either by a dirty camera gate or, more likely, a poor transfer from film to digital. There are no "extras" of interest, and the sound is just OK. Still, a very good film for anyone who likes good character studies. Murry demonstrates his acting chops early, even though he was 34 here.
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