This week we are recommending an older movie called The Edge. This movie lends itself to thinking about wilderness preparedness. Here is a summary:
In this movie, three men are stranded in the wilderness after their bush plane goes down in the remote reaches of the Alaskan interior. They must use all their survival skills to survive against the brutal elements and a rampaging, man-eating Kodiak bear with a taste for blood.
Most harrowingly, long-suspected betrayals put the tenuous thread of survival to its strained limit. Can the survivors survive each other where there is no literal or figurative moral authority?!
This is a rip-roaring great survival flick anchored by actors at the top of their craft. It is an oldie, now, but just in case you want to see the thrilling conclusion yourself there will be spoilers ahead!
A billionaire named Charles Morse, a photographer named Bob Green and Stephen, Bob’s assistant, travel to a remote Alaskan village with Charles’ much younger supermodel wife, Mickey.
Styles, the lodge’s owner, warns people against leaving food uncovered since it attracts bears. During Charles’ surprise birthday party, Bob gives him a pocket knife.
While shooting a photo, Charles sees Bob and Mickey kissing platonically. The three men travel to the home of a local man for pictures. His front door bears a note stating that he is off doing research in the woods.
They fly north, where the man was supposed to be hunting, but the plane collides with a flock of birds and sinks into a lake, killing the pilot.
Charles, Bob, and Stephen barely survive the crash. A book Charles just received on surviving in nature has gone missing after the accident.
The three men spend the night by a lake, making a fire and sleeping beside it. The next morning, Charles takes advantage of a compass leaf to determine south. They head that way on foot, but come upon an enormous Kodiak bear; it pursues them.
Bob saves Charles when they leap from a log bridge and flee, leaving him doubting his prior beliefs that Bob was planning to murder him for Mickey. The trek continues, but the travelers return to their previous campsite. While making a spear to fish with, Stephen accidentally pierced his calf.
The next night, the bear, attracted by the scent of Stephen’s blood, comes after them in their camp, killing him and fleeing with the other two men.
As the two last men adapt to their settings, they hear a rescue helicopter overhead as a squirrel falls victim to one of their traps. They fail to stop it, and Bob’s anger with Charles boils over in an argument as he expresses his distaste for him.
The bear begins to track Charles and Bob as they trek through the woods. Unable to rest or search for food owing to the necessity of constantly fleeing from the bear, they are unable to do so. In order to survive, Charles decides that they must kill it. The next day, the bear attacks them again, forcing them to flee into a river.
Bob is wounded while Charles distracts it away into a trap where it collapes on a spear and dies. The men then dine on their catch and rejoice in the aftermath of the grueling chase.
Charles and Bob discover an empty cabin on the bank of a river as winter begins to fall. Outside, Charles notices a deadfall trap. There are supplies inside, including a canoe, rifle, and ammunition.
While Bob is checking if the canoe is sound, Charles comes across a receipt in his pocket that he can use as tinder. The receipts included confirmation of his fears regarding Mickey’s infidelities with Bob. Bob returns to the cabin, where he reveals that he intends to murder Charles for her.
He orders Charles out front, but before he can strike him down, Bob is caught in the deadfall, despite Charles’s attempt to warn him away. Bob is badly hurt and pleads with Charles for assistance. After tending to his wounds, they depart in a canoe together downriver.
Bob survives the night with a fire from Charles.
Bob apologizes for betraying Charles trust and friendship, admitting that his wife was completely unaware that he had been planning to kill him. A helicopter appears and Charles manages to catch its attention, but before the helicopter lands, Bob dies.
Once rescued, Charles reveals his knowledge of his wife’s treachery by giving her Bob’s watch when brought back to the lodge. When pressed about how his companions perished, he responds: “They died defending my life.”
The Edge has generally received mixed to positive reviews from movie critics.
Rotten Tomatoes has a 64% rating, based on 49 reviews. The critical consensus reads: “A taut and well-acted thriller, The Edge proves that there’s still some life in the man vs. nature genre.”
Renowned film critic Roger Ebert notably liked the film, awarding it 3 out of 4 stars, praising the pacing and conservative, realistic action sequences. He did, however, ding the ending as poorly implemented in what was otherwise a solid film.
Lessons for Preppers
This 1997 film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin provides several key survival lessons for preppers since it is not based on any of the otherwise tired ad over the top conceits we are used to seeing in survival movies.
The scenario the characters in the film faced is one that any of us might face! Being stranded in harsh and unforgiving wilderness after a plane crash definitely hits close to home!
Some of these lessons include:
Always have a plan and be prepared
The main character, Charles Morse, is a billionaire who is a smart and capable outdoorsman and survivalist. He is never without his knife and always has a plan. This attention to detail and preparedness serves him well when he faces various challenges throughout the film.
By contrast, Bob is much slower to catch up and acclimatize to events until overtaken by them. Things might have gone much differently if he did not have Charles there!
What all the men in the movie shared was the total shock and surprise at the events that overtook them. A short flight in the Alaskan wilderness, just like hundreds of similar flights occurring every day, suddenly turned into a crisis.
No matter the situation, no matter how bad, there is nothing to be gained by panic. Keeping your cool and keeping your head, even in the face of successes, is essential for survival.
Charles always maintains his reserve whereas Bob and Stephen quickly come unraveled, with tragic consequences for one of them. Panic only begets disaster!
Know How to Make Use of What Resources You Have
Charles is able to use his knowledge of the land and its inhabitants to great advantage. He knows how to start a fire with a piece of paper, for example. Conversely, Bob wastes time and energy trying unsuccessfully to catch fish with his bare hands.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Charles is constantly aware of his surroundings. He knows the behavior patterns of the animals in the area and what to expect from different weather conditions. By contrast, Bob blunders about in the wilderness without any sense of direction or awareness.
It is Too Late to Skill Up in a Live Event
The Edge is a great reminder that it is too late to skill up in a live event. All the training and preparation in the world cannot help you if you have not put in the time to learn essential survival skills before you need them.
Charles’s Wilderness Survival Book, unfortunately lost in the plane crash that stranded the men, is a symbolic realization of this maxim.
Little Accidents Can Turn into Big Problems
Stephen is excited to put his newly made spear to use trying to catch fish, but a mishap sees him wounded by it.
This seemingly minor injury snowballs into major emergency and his death when a lurking bear is drawn by the scent of fresh blood. That unfortunate and grisly end could have been avoided if he had been more careful!
Focus on the Priorities
One of the most important takeaways from The Edge is that in a survival situation, you need to focus on the priorities.
Charles’s main priority is getting himself and Bob rescued. He does not concern himself with trivial things like his wounded pride or who will get the credit for saving them. What is important is survival!
To this end, they focus on dealing with or escaping from immediate threats, staying sheltered and maintaining their calorie and hydration intake, with the most pressing concerns receiving the bulk of their attention and energy.
In the end, The Edge is a great film for preppers because it is based on a realistic scenario and provides several key survival lessons.
Pay attention and you just might learn something that could one day save your life! What did you think of The Edge? What are some additional lessons that you believe should be included?
Please leave a remark below with your ideas! Also, be sure to read through our other Netflix Prepper Picks. Goodbye for now, until next time, happy prepping!