A truly exceptional movie--an all time favorite--must see!
Michael | San Antonio, Texas | 06/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are an intelligent viewer who is looking for a significant and possibly mind expanding movie event then "The Razor's Edge" is for you. It has remained one of my favorite films for fifteen years, and I have owned it and replayed it many times. If you look at the viewer feedback for this film you will find that the vast majority of people rate is as "Excellent" (76% of imdb raters give it a 10/10 rating) those who fail to see it's qualities can be divided fairly equally into the "don't get it" camp (Unlike the typical Hollywood lowest denominator flick, the minimum IQ for viewing is Razor's Edge is probably 100, and that leaves ½ the population out) and the "disappointed" crowd, who have so typecast the star (Bill Murray) that they wanted "Caddyshack" and just can't allow him to be a serious actor. You must set aside you prejudices and give the man a chance-Bill Murray is a Harvard grad, he co-wrote the screen play-this was a labor of love for him. Just because he has a sense of humor does NOT make him a lightweight, as this film demonstrates for anyone with the eyes to see it. Based upon the 1942 W. Somerset Maugham novel, it follows the evolution of a spoiled upper class boy from Illinois (Larry, Bill Murray), who volunteers to be an ambulance driver in WW I for a little "fun and adventure" and instead gets a dose of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). His world was forever changed by the events he experienced. He literally could not go home again after the war. He tried, and found the lives of those around him to be shallow and meaningless, and their pursuits and interests just trivial. There had to be a reason why he was here, and this sets the stage for the real point of the movie, which is an exploration of the meaning of life. (I told you it wasn't Caddyshack!) Obsessed with these existential issues, and finding that alcohol did not make the need go away, Larry travels to Paris, and starts to read, serious books on philosophy and religion, supporting himself as a laborer. He does not care much for his surroundings-his lack of materialism is in marked contrast to his peers and friends from before, whose dreams are to grow wealthy in the stock market. An early Bohemian. I found this particularly poignant: to watch this movie that foreshadowed the tech boom and bust, and realize a whole new crass materialistic generation's world was just as rocked by a stock market crash AFTER this movie was made! His fiancée could not deal with this, and left him, to marry someone she did not love but who had money. Another contrast to the shallow and materialistic, which is a recurring theme throughout the film-what brings happiness to a man? Larry's journey took him to India, and Hindu religion, and then on to Tibet to discover Buddha-the scenes filmed there are absolutely breathtaking, so I hope you can find a letterbox laserdisc or they finally bring this out on DVD-it is worth it to see the whole screen. There is romance, and love, and loss. I won't reveal the ending, which is truly bittersweet, and a bit nihilistic. This is truly the best thing this fine actor ever accomplished, and I rate it a strong "10". This should have won many awards, and should also be considered a true classic; I am disappointed in my fellow man that they so typecast the star that they could not see what a great contribution he made with this effort here. Not light fare, and a long film, but one worth seeing."
Peter O'Toole, Lawrence Olivier, Bill Murray...
Piety Hill Booksellers | Bakersfield, CA | 08/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...Seems impossible? While Bill Murray might be best known for films like Ghostbusters, he deserves much greater recognition for his role in The Razor's Edge; as much for his acting ability as his ability to adapt the script to his unique stage presence. While it is a favorite of mine, it should be recognized as one of the best films ever made (am I oveselling it?).
For those who have read Maugham's novel, the stuffiness and pretense are replaced with life, vibrance, and cinematic scope. This is one of those movies that struts films occasional superiority to the written word. Grand vistas, poignant staging (the final staircase exit), and again Bill Murray.
The movie retains all that is essential from the novel. Yet somehow, by not taking itself too seriously, Larry Darrel (Murray) is a more effective protagonist and philosopher. At each viewing I'm tempted to flee my cubicle for good and go in search of the meaning of life. Now that's power!
Ultimately, it seems a shame that such worthwhile films as this gather dust while Ghostbusters airs weekly on TBS and the like. Buy the DVD now (even with its shortcomings). You will at least be entertained by Murray's wisecracks (and a funny if brief performance from his brother Doyle). More significantly, movies like this are able to transcend mere entertainment and teach us something about what it means to be human."
"THE LOST GENERATION":The post WW1 Upper crust who sought me
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 05/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Much has been written and documented about what has now become known as "The Lost Generation".These were the the American upper crust who,being disillusioned after "The War to End All Wars",World War 1, struggled vehemently in many ways to find meaning to their lives upon returning to peacetime America.Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald,Ernest Heningway are among some of the most famous authors to write on the shallow and meaningless existence of their society, and Somerset Maugham did the same in his THE RAZOR'S EDGE.
This 1984 adaptation of Maugham's 1940's novel really captures the essence of the intense inner and outer struggles that the wealthy and privileged of that generation had to endure.Lots of hopes and expectations were radically altered in what seemed like an instant after the War,and either the rich retuned to what they had known before in their upper stations in society,a pampered,opulent,insular and quite predictable road, or they turned to an existential journey that frequently lead down the path to ultimate ruin due to alcohol and opium in Bohemian society of Paris, or to travel to Greece, India or Tibet to find "God".No matter which path was chosen,whether opting for life back in the comforts of American wealth ( eventually ruined at The Great Depression),or "mind-expanding"wandering from the streets to the Temples, each group found it treacherous to walk "the razor's edge" and survive it all.
Other reviewers have marvelously set forth the plot of Bill Murray's own adaptation of THE RAZOR'S EDGE (so I won't improve on their writings).No one could have played his character better. Too bad that the critics of 1984 did not see it that way ( much like the similar difficulties that Robin Williams and Adam Sandler first had in doing "serious roles").Murray KNEW and UNDERSTOOD Maugham's Larry and he performed the role to utter perfection.There is so much to commend Murray's rendition over the previous version,such as the outstanding cinematography, the Stanley Black musical score and the outstanding performances of Theresa Russel,Denholm Elliott and Catherine Hicks.....but most of all it is Murray's true understanding of the heart of the material and message that Maugham intended.Could the film have been better? Probably only in the editing where vital scenes possibly were deleted in order to compact the film.But, even with that, this is a true masterpiece that seems to be appreciated so much more as the years go by (even by myself who was rather ambivilent about the film at the "know-it-all" age of then 29!!!).
Having since read Maugham's novel and learned so much more about this aimless and disheartened generation of dreamers,THE RAZOR'S EDGE has to be one of the finest expositions ever written or filmed on this subject. Anyone with an interest in "THE LOST GENERATION" will improve their knowledge vastly by watching Murray's THE RAZOR'S EDGE.
Other excellent companion films on "THE LOST GENERATION" would be THE MODERNS,THE GREAT GATSBY,SCOTT AND ZELDA, TOM AND VIV and A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY,NORA,WAITING FOR THE MOON,MODIGLIANI as well as the play THE VIOLET HOUR."
Highest Quality Remake of a Timeless Classic
fritz Fratz | St. Moritz | 04/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having seen the original Tyrone Powers version of this movie from the 30's I approached this movie with some trepidation. For some reason I could not visualize Bill Murray fitting into Powers' shoes, and yet Murray has filled his character with even more sensitivity and power. I must now say that this is a VERY WORTHY remake of the film. Murray's performance is impeccable, sensitive and truly belies heartfelt emotion. The cinematography is of the highest caliber - it is lush, sensual and with impeccable detail. I also must commend the soundtrack as it is wonderful with some excellent period renditions of popular 30's era French songs. There have been very few films of this caliber to ever come along; clearly that it is not a mass market favorite is understandable; The film it is dealing with matters related to the soul and the awakening of a profound awareness in man; there are many hidden truths that are alluded to in this film which a student of esotericism or platonic philosophy would find much to chew over here. It is a warm, leave the movie and feel good film. It actually lacks some of the hard edge that the original has, and leaves the viewer with a warmer and more more optimistic outlook than the original 1930's version did. Exquisite viewing and a fine conversation starter afterwards! I must say that this Murray's strong desire to make this film, and Murray's others work, Ground Hog Day are packed with esoteric issues, which lead me to conclude that Bill might be a man of profound philosophy."
A 'nam vet sees many parallels
Kermit L. Cain | San Diego, CA United States | 03/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Did a tour as a FAC with a TACRON (Navy) back in 70/71. I'm now an educational counselor (after a 30 yr Navy career)for the military and have contact with combat vets constantly. Got someone who's been in combat? WATCH THIS MOVIE! I relate to the character and numerous others I've loaned this movie to have come back in tears - but good tears. Bill Murray is the perfect Larry because of the fact that the humorous little boy continues to shine through, THAT'S WHO HE IS, in spite of what he's endured, the experience of watching friends die and knowing human nature in a manner of which only combat veterans and law enforcement people ever experience. Larry stays Larry, he just changes in a manner that only another PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) victim can relate to. It's my opinion that many people miss the depth of the character Larry and see only the exterior of the character. Do you have to act like Budda or Ghandi to seek the meaning of life, the reason for you existence? The whole point of the movie is that Larry is just an average person tossed into circumstances and situations that preclude him from returning to what his existence was "planned out" to be (work in an office/firm, get married, kids, summer home, etc, etc)- life's experiences and fate dictated his new journey - a journey he obviously was forced travel, with truth always just steps further away.
Hey, could go on forever about this movie. Just to say I understand my feelings and thoughts about Vietnam (and other experiences) in a completely different light after watching a man that reminds me of me going through the same emotions."