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(Review originally written at 25 December 2007)

"The River Wild" isn't among the best or most exciting thriller/action movies ever made but it's a very well made one by acclaimed director Curtis Hanson and with a great cast.

A movie set entirely on a river, with as the central piece of the movie a family, complete with kids and a dog. How exciting does that sound? It sound like a 'based on true events' Hallmark type of movie. But don't be fooled. "The River Wild" is a movie that has plenty to offer, despite its very restrained concept and settings of the movie.

The movie is also more original than you perhaps would expect. The movie also does a fair job at keeping things sort of a mystery for a long time. I especially like how 'the bad guys' try to set up the family against each other to create disorder and different camps, of which they can profit from for their own benefit. It's perhaps not as good and prominently executed as it could had but nevertheless the movie gets points for the attempt, that also I must say mostly works out due to Kevin Bacon's fine role.

Watching this movie sort of makes you think what a shame it is that Bacon doesn't really play villainous roles anymore. He only played these sort of roles in the early '90's, though he had an obvious talent for it. Not that he plays crappy roles now but nevertheless it remains a shame he doesn't play more often the bad guy. He is perfectly good in his role in this movie. He knows to portray a likable character that you're also able to hate at times. A real achievement. But also credits have to go to Meryl Streep, who plays a fine strong female lead and other great actors such as David Strathairn, Joseph Mazzello and John C. Reilly.

Despite that it's not the most exciting movie in its genre it still is one that is always fast going and never boring to watch. The movie mostly features nature action, set on the river. So it's a pretty original movie in its genre but I don't know, movies set at mostly the same locations are just never among my favorite or most exciting ones to watch, such as for instance in my personal experience also was the case with movies such as "Speed" and "Phone Booth".

The movie is of course a great looking, thanks to its nature settings. Also the musical score by Jerry Goldsmith is really worth mentioning.

It's just a fine movie, that is perfectly put together and has a great cast but it's just not the finest exciting genre movie thinkable and it perhaps is also a bit too simplistic, also due to its restraints.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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