7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A film about depression that's never depressing,
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This review is from: On The Edge [DVD]  (DVD)
This is a real gem. A movie about depressed teenagers, self-harm and suicide that is moving but never depressing. I wouldn't know if it was written by someone who's actually been a psychiatric in-patient but it feels real, and there's keen eye for the absurdities of institutional life (the Velcro darts, the enforced wearing of horrible pyjamas).
I did worry that this was going to be a Therapy Movie. You know the kind of thing: Cillian Murphy's character won't accept help, then finally breaks down, admits that he needs rescuing, and develops a good therapeutic relationship with Stephen Rea's wise and fatherly therapist...BUT NONE OF THAT HAPPENS. There is some hope at the end - despite the fact that one of the main characters dies - but it doesn't come about in the (predictable, cliched, Hollywood) way you expect it to. And the patients feel like real characters, rather than just case histories. Despite their extreme situation and emotions and problems, they behave like teenagers anywhere - escaping to the nearest pub, not quite having sex and writing terrible poetry. The film humanises them; it never make them freaks.
And the performances are great. Murphy's brilliant (no surprises there) in what must've been one of his first film roles - certainly it predates 28 DAYS LATER. His character Jonathan is cocky, intelligent and a magnet for trouble - when he's not stealing cars or pissing in someone's pint, he's taking the piss out of the entire therapeutic process, but even as he's trading sarky comments, Murphy shows the pain and uncertainty beneath. Watch the bowling alley scene, it's worth the DVD price alone; you suddenly see how destructive and self-destructive his character is. Stephen Rea's wonderful in the least showy part as a patient and world-weary therapist and Tricia Vessey and Jonathan Jackson (what else have they been in?) are achingly vulnerable.
Sweet, funny, sad, and ultimately life-affirming. Recommended.