Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Exceptionally good farming movie
on 23 April 2002
Technically, The River is well done but it doesn't give anything special. It uses normal methods what comes to creation of atmosphere. Directing is lacking ambition and it's little unimaginative. It's better directed than "normal" movies, but I still don't get it why Mark Rydell was nominated for Best Director. Story is also quite good, although some viewers may find whole "left-wing" atmosphere quite disturbing. Movie has also few scenes that don't fit to their places, but those scenes can be counted with one hand.
Audiovisually movie is very good. It offers beautiful images of Tennessee's nature as well as good shots of raptured industry areas and of small, urban communities. Sound in this movie is also above average, especially in all those scenes of nature. Sounds of rain and thunder are captured very well and remarkable soundwork creates good atmosphere. Too bad that the score itself is only mediocre. Opening tune is nice as well as second theme's melody, but rhytm-section and some of the instrument choices in that one are totally intolerable. But generally speaking, The River is way above average audiovisually, worth of watching even for that.
Speaking actor-wise, The River has excellent cast. Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek both deliver first class performances as does Scott Glenn. Rest of cast is varying from mediocre to good, but main trio are ones who really shine on this movie. Casting is nearly perfect, Gibson and Spacek look great together and Glenn fits perfectly to boots of "evil" industrial mogul. Interesting detail in Glenn's acting is that he has to perform almost two roles at same time in same movie. When he has scene with Spacek, he has to be loving ja caring man. When he has scene with Gibson, he has to be cold and arrogant leader-type who cares only about his profits. Cast is yet one more reason why I can recommend this movie.
I have to admit that first and only reason why I bought this title is Spacek. Luckily, other elements in the movie weren't disappointing either. This isn't masterpiece and it isn't classic, but its still very good movie, worth of owning. Don't let the term farming-movie distract you, The River has much to offer.