Before screenwriter Tony Gilroy tackled legal chicanery in “Michael Clayton” and corporate spy wars in “Duplicity,” he hit the ice with 'The Cutting Edge.'
Gilroy’s 1992 film isn’t as high brow as his more recent efforts, but in many ways it’s his most entertaining work to date. That isn’t ’90s nostalgia talking.
“The Cutting Edge” has its fair share of cloying slow-motion shots, and the soundtrack all but screams, “Like me … please?”
But the sweet love story is more than strong enough to survive those blemishes.
So when a Russian skating coach asks him to try out for a new gig he decides its worth a shot. It involves ice skating – how bad could it be?
The coach wants Doug to team up with Kate (Moira Kelly), a spoiled ice princess who can’t hold on to a partner. It’s easy to see why. She’s rude, impatient and coarse, and that’s on a good day. But something clicks between them, a professional spark that could ignite an Olympic-worthy pairing.
DID YOU KNOW: D.B. Sweeney oh-so-briefly plays John Galt in the second film in the “Atlas Shrugged” trilogy,
Kelly and Sweeney have chemistry to burn on – and off – the ice. That’s why The Cutting Edge” has aged so gracefully despite the period trappings. Kate could have been a nightmare to play, what with her sass and self-important posturing. Lesser actresses would have seized on those tics and little else.
Kelly conveys the fragile little girl behind the facade from the moment she skates onto the screen. It’s a terrific performance, and it’s a shame she didn’t emerge from the film as Hollywood’s Meg Ryan alternative.
The film wisely avoids the kind of obvious pitfalls modern rom-coms too often trip over. Kate’s boyfriend isn’t a jerk by any stretch. And Kate’s father is given some depth despite a lack of screen time. Wish Terry O’Quinn, perhaps most famous for “Lost,” could have lost that creepy mustache, though.
“Edge” does fall flat a times, floundering on sports movie cliches and a perfectly timed booty call to cue the final act reconciliation. And anyone who can’t tell where the story is headed hasn’t seen a screen romance before.
But “The Cutting Edge” skates past such quibbles, earning a well deserved Silver medal in the hearts of movie lovers