Directed by John Carney, starring Cillian Murphy, Tricia Vessey, Jonathan Jackson and Stephen Rea.
Within the space of 24 hours Jonathan Breech (Cillian Murphy) attends his father's funeral, gets high, robs a car, picks up someone else's girlfriend, dumps her on a roadside and then drives himself off the side of a cliff. Surviving with nothing more than a broken finger, he's faced with either prison or a stay in a psychiatric hospital. Donning blinkers and pajamas, he puts himself into the care of Dr Figure (Stephen Rea), making it clear he's there for a holiday not an evaluation. But as Jonathan reluctantly attends Figure's therapy sessions, and comes into contact with fellow patients Rachel (Tricia Vessey) and Toby (Jonathan Jackson), he begins to rethink his attitude to life.
With fine performances from the trio of Murphy, Vessey and Jackson (an American with a superb Belfast accent), 'On The Edge' is a well-handled if well-worn look at the spectre of suicide and mental illness in young lives. The beginning is admittedly shaky, with Murphy's character coming across as little more than Jack Nicholson in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' with less tics and a Dublin accent, but when Vessey and Jackson are introduced, the film moves into deeper emotional territory, alternating between heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. The interplay between the three young leads is so convincing that Stephen Rea is essentially relegated to a cameo.
Where Carney undoes much of his good work is the denouement and soundtrack. The turnaround in the characters' lives is far too rapid for the complex situations that preceded it and you wonder if another 20 minutes of plotline never made it past the edit room. That, coupled with an over reliance on music to hammer home the emotional peaks and troughs (does an audience, no matter how young, need to hear the Pixies 'Is She Weird?' to understand a character has issues or Supergrass' 'Alright' to realise that the people onscreen are having a good time?), turns Carney's brave attempt to tackle a very Irish subject into a good, but unremarkable film.