Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Afternoon Movie: The River Wild


Unlike the other films I've chosen for this feature, this isn't exactly all fun and games with a sweet heartfelt message at the end. This was a film that I watched numerous amount of times when I was younger. This was really my introduction to Meryl Streep and to some extent why I always thought Kevin Bacon was a 'bad guy'. This was before John C Reilly became a 'big deal' and was not long after Jurassic Park so Joseph Mazzello is still young and annoying. I remember my Mum liking this film because she always wanted to go whitewater rafting. On the surface its about marriage than needs some TLC. But water rafting and escaped criminals help bring a family closer together. It's of course. The River Wild.


Gail (Meryl Streep) and Tom (David Strathairn) are having some problems, mostly because Tom is a workaholic and doesn't spend much time with his family. Gail, who is a water rafting expert, decides to take the children on a water rafting holiday in Idaho along one of the infamous rivers. Leaving her young daughter with her parents, Gail and son, Roarke are about to set off when Tom shows up to join them. Along the way they meet a couple of guys, Wade and Terry (Kevin Bacon and John C Reilly), also heading down the river, they seem friendly at first. But upon meeting them again for second time, Gail becomes suspicious. It turns out that the men are criminals and are trying to escape down river. They become violent and take the family hostage, forcing Gail to take them down the restricted routes.


What follows is a pretty intense family thriller that might not be suitable for all ages but its a 12a so any with parents or over this age can enjoy the film. Its a thriller that is exciting as well as terrifying.

The fact the film was shot between Montana, Oregon and parts of the Colorado River means there are some beautiful views to stare at as well wish you were on the river too. With an excellent guide of course as those waters can be very dangerous.


Looking back on the film, it seems like an odd bunch to throw together, especially when you look at where the cast is now. Streep is obviously on top form as always, Strathairn was/is on Bourne duty. Reilly is now focusing more on comedy and Bacon, well, he does adverts for EE and of course he's in a TV show too.

My memories of this film are watching it over and over usually on a sunny afternoon in the school holidays wishing I could be on a raft. I must have seen this film when I was really young as when I was 11 years old I went on an adventure holiday with my school and we went rafting. It was in Devon so it wasn't anything like the film but I did mention it to people and no one knew what I was talking about. Years later when I mentioned this film, it got a laugh, so at least it was acknowledged.

It may be an odd pick for an afternoon film but it gets your mind out into the open and the refreshing river and adds suspense into the water too.

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