Movie Review: The River Wild (1994)

Synopsis: A water rafting expert goes on a holiday rafting trip with her son and reluctant workaholic husband. While traveling down the river, they come across a pair of inexperienced rafters who claim to have been abandoned by their guide and she decides to help them out. However, she soon learns the two men are criminals and, because one of them has a gun, she is forced to help them carry out an escape plan that involves rafting down an off-limits stretch of the river that could kill everyone.

Who's in it? The movie stars Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, David Strathairn, Joseph Mazzello and John C. Reilly.

Review: My wife and I originally started watching this film a few weeks ago after coming across it on one of our movie channels. However, it was starting to get late and we were both too tired to watch it in its entirety so we ended up recording it instead.

Her and I finally got around to watching it yesterday afternoon and, while I wasn't really sure what to expect from it (I had heard of the movie but, up until yesterday, had not actually seen it), it turned out to be an entertaining thriller.

There were a couple things I liked about this movie. The first was the way Gail (Streep) and her husband (Strathairn) kept trying to gain the upper hand only to have Wade (Bacon) find a way to stay a step ahead of them. There were times when it seemed like he could almost read their minds and just happened to be in the right place at the right time. As I've said before, movies like this are much more entertaining when the victims give their best effort and still fail because it makes the situation that much more hopeless.

I also liked the fact they were in such a remote area. The writers (through Gail) made sure to explain the only way out of the valley was by river, meaning they couldn't simply untie themselves during the night and try to escape on foot.

One character that really intrigued me was Wade's partner, Terry (Reilly), mostly because I wasn't sure what kind of role he would ultimately end up having. It was pretty obvious he wasn't completely on board with Wade's plan, especially when there was violence involved. But, along with not being very smart, he was also a coward. As a result, I wasn't sure if he was going to keep helping Wade or if he would eventually grow a backbone and stand up to him. This definitely helped keep the movie from becoming predictable (something that, in turn, kept it entertaining throughout).

Final Opinion: This is an entertaining thriller with plenty of action and some well-thought-out characters. I enjoyed watching it and recommend it if you have not seen it yet.

My Grade: A


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