WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Augustine- aka Gus (Zach Gilford) is a young fisherman who happens to be the scion of a legendary fly-fisherman (William Hurt), who’s arrogance sends Gus into seclusion, where he spends his time fishing and chasing a local beauty (Amber Heard) who’s love may hold the key to Gus finally realizing his potential in life.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
THE RIVER WHY is a film I had never heard of until it arrived at my doorstep a few weeks ago. Apparently based on a well-regarded novel by the author of A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, I can see why RIVER WHY might have been a tough sell, as there’s an awful lots of fishing, and probably not enough of the family conflict that might have made it easier to digest for a mainstream audience.
I’m not much of a fisherman myself (being a city-boy), but I can appreciate the appeal of a tranquil lifestyle spent doing what you love. And therein lies my problem with the film, which is Gilford’s performance as Gus. He’s not a bad actor (he’s quite good on FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) but there was something about his performance that struck me as off, which is a shame as there’s a lot to like here.
For one thing, the scenery is gorgeous, especially on blu-ray, and the supporting turns by Dallas Roberts (as a local eccentric/philosopher) and Hurt- sporting as English accent as Gus’ father is phenomenal. The gorgeous Amber Heard also gets a nice chance to show off her talent in a non-genre film, and she’s appropriately sweet as Gus’ idealized love interest.
Not much, other than the trailer and some really poorly encoded interviews .
All in all, THE RIVER WHY is not a bad film, but it’s also not quite as profound as it seems to think it is at times. It’s the type of thing that’s worth a watch on cable, but not really worth tracking down unless you’re a fishing enthusiast, or a fan of the book.