When the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas said “Somebody’s boring me. I think it’s me,” he may have just seen The Edge of Love, allegedly based on his own life. Thing is, they’ve left out the brilliant writing bits and concentrated on Thomas’ peculiar, triangular relationship with his wife, Caitlin, and childhood flame, Vera.
The Edge of Love, written by Sharman Macdonald (Kiera Knightly’s mom), stars Kiera Knightly (du’uh) as Vera, Sienna Miller as Caitlin, and Matthew Rhys as Dylan. You may have already guessed that the fourth star of the film is Alcohol.
Touted as a biopic, the film actually tells little about a psychically damaged writer so talented that Bob Zimmerman changed his last name to Dylan in homage to the poet.
The movie begins in WWII’s bombed-out London. Vera has become a nightclub singer who’s being courted by an army captain William Killick (Cillian Murphy). It’s not long until Vera re-falls in love with Thomas, and so intensely that she invites him and Caitlin to come live in her flat while boyfriend Killick fights the bad guys abroad, sending them money for rent. The three form a sort of wartime commune and scandalize the entire suburban neighborhood.
It’s not difficult to understand why these two women are caught in Dylan’s web of words and decide to share him; he’s charismatic, manipulative, as cruel with his women as was Picasso, and a totally fascinating alcoholic.
Gore galore in the war scenes might give pause to those who would normally brand this a chick flick. There are also some of the most symbolic and beautiful shots this side of David Lynch’s romantic streak.
The standout performance among four good ones, is Sienna Miller’s. Her Caitlin is beautiful, base and bawdy. She turns cartwheels in a bar, humps her brains out, yet retains full femininity. The close-ups of those bright red lips should signal heavy fantendance.
The Edge of Love is directed by former movie set designer and pop video alumni, John Maybury, and runs 111 minutes.