Director: John Maybury; Release date: 27 June
Dylan Thomas was an iconic poet, a lifelong socialist and an internationalist who wrote about the great issues of his age - unemployment, war and the danger of atomic weapons - with words both beautiful and captivating. Of himself he said, "I take my stand with any revolutionary body that asserts it to be the right of all men to share, equally and impartially, every production from man and from the sources of production at man's disposal, for only through such an essentially revolutionary body can there be the possibility of a communal art." So you can imagine how happy I was to be asked to review this.
Yet in this film about the women in his life he is reduced to a drunk, needy, jealous womaniser who writes smutty limericks or poems for the woman he doesn't have.
The film opens in an underground bunker/makeshift club with Keira Knightly singing about a tropical paradise to a crowd sheltering from the bombs that rain down on London. This could be a wartime romance, a bio-picture, a take on women's friendship or an anti-war film for the present day. Instead this is a fairly odd little film - and not simply because it does a disservice to the poet - because it doesn't seem to know where it wants to go.
The real issue with this film is the disparate ideas of those involved in its production. The producer, writer and director are clearly working on entirely separate films that quite simply refuse to come together as a coherent whole.
The director's film is anti-war - or at least that's the impression he gives in his notes, stating, "My biggest intention with this film was to make a film about what's going on now in the world. We are at war, whether people admit it or not, young men are dying, their wives are being left abandoned and young people are suffering." And this does come through at some points - most strongly with Dylan's love rival dealing with the realities of life on the frontline having been dumped back into normality.
So The Edge of Love could have been a great film, or at least an interesting one. But instead it is a pretty, but ultimately empty, experience. I'd advise you to read his poetry instead.