Over the Edge Blu-ray Review: Hits Close to Home

It was a banner year in 1979 for trouble youth-oriented films, such as The Warriors, The Wanderers, and Walk Proud, but director Jonathan Kaplan’s Over the Edge just may outdo them all because it definitely hits close to home.

Buy Over the Edge Blu-ray

Disaffected teen Carl (Michael Kramer) is one of many handfuls of misfits in New Grenada, a seemingly tranquil suburban community, left to their own devices after their neglecting parents seem to care more about boosting the resale value of their town’s malls, offices, and condos. These “devices” include drugs, booze, and other displays of delinquency. Things get worse when Ritchie (a young Matt Dillon in his film debut) brandishes an unloaded gun at unscrumptious town cop Ed Doberman (Harry Northup), who shoots and kills him, which eventually leads to a dramatic teen riot where the kids have had enough.

When I mentioned that the film outdoes other films about damaged kids, I meant that the conflicts feel real because it does begin at home. There’s obvious misunderstanding between the kids and their parents that drives them further away.

I liked it well enough to think that it doesn’t feel dated. I just wished that there would have been more character development with the other kids besides Carl. Dillon (who has rather limited time onscreen) makes the most of it, creating a character that you actually miss after he gets killed. However, there’s an gritty nature to the performances of the young actors, so I’m willing to overlook the film’s few flaws.

The Blu-ray from Shout Factory is a good one, even though not all of the special features from the previous Arrow edition are included. But the ones in this release are still pretty good and plentiful. They include two commentaries: one with Kaplan, producer George Litto, and writers Tim Hunter & Charlie Haas; the other with Kramer & journalist Mike Sacks; new interviews with Kaplan, Haas, and Kaplan about his father Sol, who composed the film’s score; Wide Streets + Narrow Minds, a 7-part retrospective documentary; isolated music and track; “Destruction: Fun Or Dumb?” – the full educational video shown in the film; and trailers & TV spots.

Hopefully, Over The Edge will get the resurgence it deserves because it’s a riveting cautionary wake-up call to society that refuses to recognize its children.

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