Directed by: #DarrenKing
The Edge, directed by Darren King, grapples with the sensitive subject matter of domestic violence with some success. The film often feels as raw and real as the wounds inflicted on upon Steph by her abusive partner, Dan. It is an unapologetically grim watch, with the camera’s intimate closeness to the violence that Dan bears down upon his partner forcing you to feel nauseatingly connected to this brutality.
The Edge makes an honest and genuine attempt to depict the psychology of such a relationship in all of its horrible truth. Dan’s insistence, after the first assault, that he loves Steph and will never hurt her again, is a sadly recurrent theme in abusive relationships. Though Dean Kilbey’s performance as Dan lacks true ferocity in some of the key scenes, particularly in the climactic car scene, the character itself is well written.
Meanwhile, the devastating and disturbing reaction of Steph’s child to the violence which forms a part of his everyday life, a reaction which seems to act as this film’s central message, demonstrates a refusal to shy away from the complexities of the psychology of abusers. This moral lesson is cleverly conveyed by the way that the film cuts between the child and his sadistic role model.
However, though it depicts this fairly and accurately, it feels like familiar cinematic territory. Though The Edge deserves credit for presenting domestic violence in a way which is genuinely unsettling, it does not contribute anything original to the discourse around this issue. Steph’s story feels familiar to the point that it is relatively easy to see where it is going once it starts. Though this echoes the fact that abusive men will rarely change, and thus the predictable nature of the story contributes to its emotional value, it unfortunately makes The Edge less engaging than it could be.
This shortfall in this short film’s ability to compel you to keep watching is compounded by some of the film’s technical issues. It is often hard to hear the dialogue that passes between characters, a defect which instantly makes it more than difficult than necessary to be drawn in by the events on screen. Furthermore, the sloppy use of editing around the final piece of music takes away from the impact of what is supposed to be The Edge’s emotional climax, as the music comes in far too quickly to allow this moment to resonate emotionally. Instead, the conclusion ends up conveying a sense of overt melodrama. Ultimately, The Edge is a necessary story, but not an original or truly remarkable one.