River's Edge (Tim Hunter, 1986)

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:53 pm

River's Edge (Tim Hunter, 1986)

#1 Post by theseventhseal » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:39 am

River's Edge is a 1986 American drama film directed by Tim Hunter, written by Neal Jimenez, and starring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye Leitch, Daniel Roebuck, and Dennis Hopper. It was awarded Best Picture at the 1986 Independent Spirit Awards.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091860/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Turned this on to watch for the first time in many years. This is almost a perfectly crafted socio-drama (in the guise of a dark comedy grunge thriller) starring an incredibly gifted cast. It stars Keanu Reeves as the denim jacket-clad older brother of a 12-year-old punk troubled by his family's dissolution. Crispin Glover is a Seattle stoner with a patois reminiscent of Jeff Spicoli, Dennis Hopper is a shut-in a biker on-the-run, and Daniel Roebuck appears as the hulking, disturbed boy whose violent act throws a group of high school students lives into disarray. The brightest star in the film for me is Crispin Glover, in what I'm guessing was his first big role. I insist Glover gives one of the funniest performances ever put on film as a West Coast stoner freak, over-saturated with weed and a flair for the dramatic, who at the sniff of danger hunkers down into a heroic rock barbarian fantasy of playing protector to his youthful horde. Glover's quirky perfection so fully embodies his character that it never feels like the broad caricature you secretly hope is real, it's so nuttily engaging.. And the humor of his madness helps to part the dour fog that descends on the group after discovering one among them has killed a peer. The events unfold in an otherworldly haze of shock, conflicted loyalties, and pilfered parental weed as kids grapple with murder and accepting the end of their innocence outcasts status. It's one of those role's that Dennis Hopper's slips into perfectly and maintains the sublimely believable textures of the film. Directed with a knowing comedic hand by Tim Hunter. Neal Jimenez's very, very funny script is also authentic and heartbreaking, and trendsetting as the pre-grunge atmosphere Hunter creates. It's a sobering look at the miasma of broken homes in a dirt-bike infested world lacking a real center, smoothed over by Humboldt County weed and the scoffing nihilism of it's wounded yet strangely innocent teens.

A great film!

Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:37 am
Location: Down there

Re: River's Edge (Tim Hunter, 1986)

#2 Post by JabbaTheSlut » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:46 pm


Harry Caul
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:59 am

Re: River's Edge (Tim Hunter, 1986)

#3 Post by Harry Caul » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:11 am

River's Edge is an amazing film; I re-watched it on Blu recently, and I consider it extremely well done - especially considering it was obviously a low-budget movie. It's definitely an indy-type film, and though it featured K. Reeves, IIRC it was one of his first roles & he wasn't that well-known at the time...the vibe/tone of the film actually seems more like a '90's indy film than an '80's film, probably because the indy film "movement" (such as it was) seemed to begin in the '90's.

Though I knew the film was based on real-life events in CA back in the early '80's, after doing some research & finding out more details...I was even more disturbed by the movie. Quite horrific.

I was also in H.S. in the '80's (I graduated towards the end of that decade), and for whatever reason I never saw the film then. However, seeing the movie much later did also remind me a lot of that time, since I knew a lot of kids like those characters.

Though the film was obviously extremely grim, there was some unintentional?! comedy: I laughed @ the scenes with the ex-hippie teacher trying to engage the kids in his class (by talking about his activism when he was younger), and having it fall on deaf ears...the kids were either bored, indifferent, or stoned, and obviously didn't give a rat's @$$- hilarious I liked how his righteous indignation at the state of the country (and later, the horrific crime) failed to move the kids at all....This also really dates the film as a product of it's era, since I remembered that during the '80's a lot of these ex-hippies from the '60's & '70's had entered the workforce - and were becoming part of "the establishment" that they had fought against when they were younger - whether they wanted to or not.

User avatar
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:33 pm
Location: Grand Junction, CO

Re: River's Edge (Tim Hunter, 1986)

#4 Post by MyFathersSon » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:48 pm

A younger generation than my own, and there's a tendency to look down on younger generations as degenerate (no pun intended). Some of my teachers were not ex-hippies, they were ex-Marines, and we were in trouble for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Though the generation doesn't resonate with me, the locations certainly do because the movie was filmed where I grew up. The river scenes were 400 miles north, but the High School, the streets, stores, and a tennis court are adolescent memories. An extra dimension of disturbing realism.

Before I moved away, the hippies were evicted from the commune where they were squatting, and there was a shocking murder case of a marijuana deal gone wrong; a shotgun blast to the face when someone opened his front door. Signs of the next generation arriving.

Post Reply