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The River Wild
BLU-RAY disk
Mar 2, 2011 By: J.A. Hamilton
The River Wild order download
Director:
Curtis Hanson

Actors:
Meryl Streep
Kevin Bacon
David Strathairn

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Whats supposed to be a fun family adventure to both celebrate her sons birthday and help get her marriage back on track takes a violent turn for the worse when former river guide Gail Hartman and her family are kidnapped and forced to help armed robbers escape down the river.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I know Ive mentioned this before but the one distinct difference I see in the films of today that differs greatly from films of the eighties and nineties is layered storytelling and I really miss it. THE RIVER WILD reminds me of the good old days when you actually felt like something happened over the course of two hours, opposed to today when you blink only to realize that the films already over. Some of you may not understand what I mean but Im sure a lot of you get it. I never watched this back when it came out because I just didnt think much would come of a white water rafting adventure but theres more here than I thought and Im glad I got the chance to sit down with it.

Im not much for Meryl Streep (is anyone?) so for me this flicks juice came from the Baconator. Kevin Bacon is one of those rare actors who plays the villain nearly as often as he does the hero (if not more so) and hes damn good at it too. I like the game of cat and mouse he plays with everyone here until he starts to get a little too familiar with Streep. The overall feel of this film reminded me somewhat of THE EDGE, sure they werent being pursued by a grizzly (man, would that have ever upped the ante) but the gauntlet provided more than enough man vs. nature excitement to chew on...or at least it would have had we been exposed to it for more than ten minutes of the film. I say that like there were pacing issues, and by all means the parents on the edge of divorce debockle was getting a touch aggravating by the end of things but other than that the pace wasnt too bad.

THE RIVER WILD is a decent thriller coming from a time when Hollywood was experimenting heavily with the rigors of the great outdoors. It was funny seeing John C. Reilly here but he reminds me of Strickland from the BACK TO THE FUTURE series because the dude always looks old. If youre a Kevin Bacon fan though, youll love what this films selling and I personally cant wait to see what he brings to the table as Sebastian Shaw in X-MEN FIRST CLASS. I dug this films ending and quickly realized the moral of this story: white water rafting isnt for me but if your marriage is on the fritz then by all means give it a whirl. There was a time when I thought I wanted to do it up but this film reminded me of why I never actually went through with it, white water rafting that is, not marriage.
THE EXTRAS
Nada, not even a trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Ive always loved films that pit us vs. the elements in some capacity because theres so much more you can add to any situation with the right locals. This film proves that in spades and though the fight down the rapids isnt as grand a battle as Id hoped its still not a bad rental idea.
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