Sunday, 15 March 2009

Movie Review - The Cutting Edge

How I came to see Cutting Edge…

It’s not often that my wife absolutely raves about a film – but this is one of them. Well, pretty much the only one really. So I thought, it MUST be good… But then I thought, “yeah but she liked ET, so her judgement can’t be all that reliable…”

The first time I saw part of this film (the latter half), I was in a bad mood anyway (so my sister-in-law tells me…), tired, and the sound kept blinking off. I was not impressed, it seemed rather silly and contrived to me. But I got it for my wife as an anniversary present since she loved it so much, and I thought I could grit my teeth and watch it a couple of times.

Little

Did

I

Know




That this is, once you see it from the start, one of the best romantic comedies EVER. Well, more a romantic comedy-drama than a straight romantic comedy, I guess. I’d not seen either of the leads, Moira Kelly or D B Sweeny in anything that I can recall. I’m going to look out for their films now though as they are fine actors (well okay, one of them is an actress…). Their performances here suggest that they have real star talent.

Overview

Cutting Edge is, as the title may suggest, a film based around skating. Before you run of screaming, the skating scenes are kept short and are very well done, while some of them provide the basis for the humour in the film. Moira Kelly plays Kate Mosely, a former star figure skater trying to recover her past glories, while D B Sweeney is Doug Dorsey, a champion ice hockey player until an eye injury led to the loss of some of his peripheral vision and retirement from top-level competition. After several failed attempts by Kelly to find a partner who will stay with her (“They’re all either too to fast, too slow, too inept, too …. And, of course, there’s the B factor”, her Russian coach tells her father. “She’s such a bitch“), and even more failed attempts by Sweeney to get back into professional hockey, they become an unlikely pairing, staying together despite initial mutual dislike (and of course the “B Factor”) only in an attempt to achieve their joint dream – Olympic gold.

And then…

The plot thickens as Doug’s family turn against him for partaking in a sissy sport, an odd romantic attachment develops between the two skaters, Kelly becomes engaged, and the whole reason for Kate being such a spoilt little rich brat, more accustomed to diamonds than the brash manners of ice hockey stars, becomes evident. The main characters a great and the coach is just superb, and the supporting cast range from fair to good. Kelly’s father is a bit of a weak character, but it doesn’t detract from the film too much.

Not just your average romantic comedy…

Are you possibly deduced from the brief plot summary above, there is a good deal more drama to this film than your average romantic comedy. The amazing thing is, it moves seamlessly between tension and humour, with both aspects of the film working extremely well. Just imagine one of the best episodes of M*A*S*H (and not one directed by Alan Alda) carried on for an entire film. It makes you cry with sorrow and then dissolve into tears of laughter seconds later. I’ve rarely seen a film that combines heart-wrenching and belly-laughing to quite such exquisite effect.

The humour comes in all shapes and sizes, from the sweetly sentimental to the downright cruel. (So that’s the American and British tastes catered for then!…) The pacing is just right, the plot interesting without being demanding, the special effects, when used, are good, and the acting is at worst adequate, at best brilliant.

Who would enjoy watching it?

You don’t need to be a sports fan to enjoy this. I’m certainly not a particular fan of figure skating. You just need to enjoy good films. It has more appeal than most as it’s definitely not only for romantic comedy fans. In fact, it’s hard to imagine what sort of person wouldn’t enjoy this film.

Which is what leads me to believe that you will.

But…

(Just don’t start watching it half-way through – wait for another time and watch it again, or make whoever’s watching it start the DVD again – it’s so good, they probably won’t even mind!) :-D


Links

Few romantic comedies are in the same league as this one. Here are the very few I’ve already reviewed that deserve to be mentioned in the same breath:

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