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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 30 April 2003
Despite populist cultural history, US teen films in the 1980s were not all John Hughes-stylee (Pretty in Pink, St Elmos Fire etc)- though those films had more to them than the current crop of US teen gross-out/lite-lifestyle films such as American Pie2. There were other US teen films that took an alternate, harder look at life- Coppola's underrated RumbleFish, the excellent satire Heathers and this film from 1986.
Tim Hunter's film taps into the same dark realm other films of 1986 also peered into- notably Blue Velvet & Henry@ Portrait of a Serial Killer. It looks at a typical smalltown where a murder has taken place- a teen kills his girlfriend & their nihilistic peers wonder what to do next. Then there's Dennis Hopper & a rubber doll...
River's Edge is dark, dark stuff- predicting the similar world of Twin Peaks (Hunter would direct several episodes of that TV series)- it is notable for the surreal car that Crispin Glover drives, the use of Slayer (ripped off for Korine's Gummo) & appearances on-screen from Keanu Reeves & Ione Skye (whatever happened to?...). How a film this great could remain unavailable on video for so long is confusing- though other classics are equally, inexplicably deleted (Last Picture Show, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia,Pixote ,Two Lane Blacktop, Once Upon a Time in America etc). This film certainly reflects the same US culture of dissatisfaction captured by bands such as Black Flag, Husker Du & Replacements- & it remains a highlight of 80s US cinema and a modern classic. Reissue! Repackage! Soon!...
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on 22 May 2016
Of the many films I grew up with as a teen this always stuck with me. Outstanding performances by everyone and a film that I have always felt was overlooked. Haunting and certainly not the Breakfast Club. Cannot recommend highly enough.
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on 4 February 2015
Genuinely creepy story about young people in rural America. Great photography and grisly death. Macabre and morbid they don't make films like this anymore
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on 12 February 2015
Nothing to dislike here despite the fact that the characterization is archetypal and thus the characters are only visible for what they do rather than who they are.

This one focuses on the actual motivations of White teenagers, not just their behavior; revealing directionlessness and an unempathetic White culture. The lack of self-respect so revealed reveals the characters as having no sense of the value of life nor of any self-worth; normalizing murder as a valid means of self-expression.

White youth are shown as morally-bereft; their false sense of loyalty to those they grow up with masked by trying to keep a secret so vile it becomes the basis of false friendship for the lonely. The choices people make about who their friends are become problematic in the presence of bad parenting and a declining White culture, since accepting what one is born into is easier than consciously choosing between False Loyalty; Loneliness; or, Finding New Friends.

Friendship as emotional blackmail becomes the central metaphor for a culture-in-crisis as teens try to discover the true nature of human relationships when surrounded by adult ones that have largely failed through lack of application. Characterless, friendless moral vacua in a morally-vacuous culture - they do not know themselves so do not know each other; desperately wondering how to respond to situations that may result in the loss of friendships that might not be worth continuing in the first place.

Only a deep sense of morbidity makes the people here feel alive since life itself is alien to them: They are potentially dead before ever having lived since their lives lack meaning. A cultureless culture where Will to Power becomes a solace for the paranoid/schizophrenia brought-on by a profound sense of existential despair.

A masterpiece.
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on 19 February 2004
This movie is seen to this day as a breakthrough role for Keanu Reeves. The movie is about a group of teenagers, and depicts how little they care about life anymore when one of their friends is found dead at a River's Edge and they arn't more concerned. They refuse to help the police. It gives a deeply psychologicall view into theses people who suffer deeply but in silence.
I hope this displays some of the significance and importance of the film to people as a lesson of the past.
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on 2 April 2009
John, a hulking tall slob of a teenager, kills his girlfriend for making fun of his dead Mummy or something. And then he shows his friends her dead body on a rivers edge and they basically have these very lackluster reactions to the murder. No one is scared; no one freaks out. Funnily enough no one even thinks to call teh Police.

Crispin Glover's character tries to hide the body. The murderer (Fat bloke John) doesn't seem to care if he gets caught or not. He acts like a walking brick. Dennis Hopper plays a drug dealing nutter who serves no purpose in the movies plot. They probably cast him as he was famous and he could probably generate some publicity for this 1986 garbage.

Keanu 'Wooden actor' Reeve's younger brother is the uglist child in the world. Crispin Glover is this schizoid freak who just drives around, tries to smoke weed, and talks about hiding the dead girl's body. I didnt feel for any of the characters nor did I care for their plight. I am all for the disaffected youth movies, but this was just annoying and boring and looked like it was made by an amateur film studies student.

Keanu 'Woah' Reeves turns in another bland performance. K 'Woah' Reeves isnt a great actor in any movie! He's a sobered version of Bill from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in every role.

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