The River Wild
River Wild (1994) is a thriller with a rather thin and predictable
plot that is raised several notches by an excellent cast, beautiful
locations, and amazing work by DP Robert Elswit. The film stars Meryl
Streep (I said excellent cast) as a mother and former river guide who
is taking her 10-year-old son on a White-water trip for his birthday.
Her husband (David Strathairn), as usual, begs off at the last minute
claiming work problems. As Streep and her son get ready to push off,
they meet three men who will also be rafting at the same time. At the
last moment, Strathaim shows up for the trip. There is much talk of
"The Gauntlet" at the far end of the river, which has been
the death of many rafters, and is now off-limits. Streep, of course,
successfully ran the gauntlet in her youth.
| There was a nude bathing scene at night, but the
could have been anyone from what you can see, and the close-ups don't
show much more than head and shoulders. There may be a nipple visible
under water. There are several very nice pokies, however.
|The other three men are the bad guys, having committed a robbery. You
can predict the rest of the plot easily. Streep is completely
believable as mother, wife concerned about the marriage, and rafting
expert. She fleshes out the character with humor, spirit, drive and
devotion. She received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress for
The bad guys are played to perfection by Kevin Bacon and John C.
Reilly (the third man dies early in the film). Ebert found fault, saying that it was a Deliverance
clone, and that clones only work when you get the details perfect. In
his first example of a problem, he got an important detail way wrong,
which leads me to believe that old Roger awarded his two stars based
on fast-forwarding through much of the film.
I think Tuna got it
exactly right. Tremendous talent on hand. Curtis Hanson (L.A.
Confidential, Wonder Boys) directed Meryl Streep. Right there you have
the makings of a four star movie.
But it isn't. The
IMDb score is about indicative of the appeal of the film. On the other
hand, as Tuna said, it is beautifully photographed, and in a 2.35
- With their
dollars ... it was made for $45 million, and grossed $47
domestically, plus $22 million in rentals.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, I will
give this a B-. Even though the plot is predictable, and the
pace is occasionally slow, the fine performances and great
photography make it worth the watch.
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