Kehr’s Weekly Recap: The Razor’s Edge (1984)

The Razor's Edge (1984)

Unsettled by his experience in World War I, Lake Forest cutup Bill Murray resigns the shallow materialism of his friends and fiancee and sets out on the narrow path to spiritual enlightenment. This intensely embarrassing film clearly has great personal value for Murray (the real-life parallels become chillingly explicit when a subplot introduces a dope- and booze-addicted friend whom Murray is unable to save), but if the motivations are authentic, the result is anything but. The screenplay (cowritten by Murray and director John Byrum) shies away from specifying Murray’s spiritual achievements; instead of maturing, the character simply becomes more smug and condescending, and the movie’s ultimate subject is his fatuous self-satisfaction in the face of the other characters’ carefully delineated weaknesses. Not one moment in the film works the way it was plainly meant to. With Theresa Russell, Catherine Hicks, and Denholm Elliott. PG-13, 128 min.

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Kehr Capsule of the Week: Song of the South (1947)

 

The great Disney Uncle Tom masterwork. Brer Rabbit and company are introduced by dear old Uncle Remus. This is good if very offensive entertainment, and whether you can take it or not is something you’ll have to answer for yourself. The stories are pretty good folk, though a little too coyly calculated. But the plantation stuff is beneath contempt. Better save this for nostalgia only—kids won’t be missing anything if they never encounter this relic.