Director Stuart Gordon put in time as an enfant terrible on the Midwest theater scene before making his feature film debut in 1985 with Re-Animator, one of the greatest — and sickest — horror comedies. He never quite recaptured that kind of lightning in a bottle, but his latest film, a darkly humorous adaptation of David Mamet’s 1982 play, Edmond, with William H. Macy, is the best thing he’s done in 20 years. Macy plays Edmond Burke, a middle manager who gets some sort of premonition that all is not right in his life, dumps his wife (Mamet stalwart Rebecca Pidgeon), and heads out into the night to beat his chest and find himself a date. Mamet’s non-naturalistic style has always been a specialized taste, and the main character here is a whinging racist and misogynist (and a cheapskate, to boot) who’d be awfully had to take if it weren’t for Macy’s skill with the dialogue — his performance reinforces the existential comedy inherent in his predicament as the archetypal middle-aged white guy with a half-baked philosophy that’s bigger than his experience. With an episodic structure and an audience-friendly running time (less than 80 minutes), this is a trenchantly funny look at Edmond’s cataclysmic encounter with the wider world outside his own narrow mind.
Originally published in the White Plains Times, October 6, 2006