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The Razor’s Edge 1984 ***

Bill Murray only agreed to do Ghostbusters so he could make this hugely underrated period adaptation of W Somerset Maugham’s book. Widely ridiculed on release, The Razor’s Edge is now gaining a cult reputation and deservedly so. Murray plays Larry, an everyman whose experiences of war as an ambulance driver provide existential leanings, and send him on a globetrotting search for meaning. There’s great support from Denholm Elliot, and the production is handsomely mounted. The Razor’s Edge was made when Murray was seen as a comic rather than an actor, and his refusal to play Larry’s quest for laughs worked against the film at the time. It certainly works for John Byrum’s serious-minded drama now that Murray’s reputation for bring real gravitas to roles is secure. And the long speech that Murray gives for a fallen comrade, which clearly echoes the actor’s friendship with the late John Belushi, is a moment of stunning, moving and heartfelt cinema.

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