The River King R CC

Amazon Instant Video

(224) IMDb 5.8/10

Initially ruled as a suicide, a detective suspects that a student's death was a hazing incident gone too far, but a mysterious series of events leads him to uncover more than he bargained for.

Edward Burns, Jennifer Ehle
1 hour, 40 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The River King

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Mystery
Director Nick Willing
Starring Edward Burns, Jennifer Ehle
Supporting actors Thomas Gibson, John Kapelos, Jamie Thomas King, Rachelle Lefevre, Bruce Murphy, David Gibson McLean, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Ross Petty, David Christoffel, Richard Fitzpatrick, Karl Pruner, Jonathan Malen, Jeff A. Wright, Nikki Barnett, Robert Bockstael, Sean McCann, Peter West, Sandy Lund
Studio First Look
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Literally the worst movie I have ever seen.
Bella Ray
Despite all of the fine points of the film the problem lies in the screen adaptation by David Kane of the haunting novel by Alice Hoffman.
Grady Harp
Just felt like there were too many loose ends and left with a sense of disappointment.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Amy Wallace VINE VOICE on November 29, 2005
Format: DVD
The River King, based from Alice Hoffman's novel is a haunting mystery story. The characters have lept from the pages of a novel and onto the big screen. Starring Jennifer Ehle (BBC Pride and Prejudice)

This moving drama begins with small town police finding a young boy's body in the river, frozen under the ice. From the moment the movie begins, the images, characters and scenery are straight from the novel it was based on.

As the story unfolds, we begin to learn about the boy who was found in the river, and the life he lead before he died. The audience becomes haunted by the mysterious and exclusive private college and its equally strange and elite students. The audience discovers each part of the story through flashbacks and through the memories and thoughts of the characters.

I personally attended a small, private and rather elite college on the East Coast. Throughout the novel I was getting feelings of Deja vu; convinced I was back at Benningon. Not only is the story totally engrossing and haunting, the film starts to become reality and capture the emotions of the audience, without the usual hollywood tricks.

This film blew away my expectations. I was a huge fan of the novel; I read it over and over again. I anticipated the movie being a dissapointment, but found myself captured and surprized, even though I knew what was going to happen next.

If you liked this movie, I would reccomend:

The River King written by Alice Hoffman, and any of her other novels.

Donna Tart's novel: The Secret History (similar plot and setting)

The movies: Practical Magic (by the same author), The Red Violin, Silence of the Lambs, What Lies Beneath, The Village.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2006
Format: DVD
When the frozen body of a teenage boy is found in a stream in the facility of an exclusive boarding school Chalk Hall most just quietly assume that he committed suicide. Few people are willing to question the incident, even though local police officer, Abel (Edward Burns) is concerned that there may have been foul play. The body in the river is actually that of tormented outcast Guy Pierce (Thomas Gibson), a new student at the school.

Abel's partner Joey Tosh (John Kapelos) is more than prepared to treat the death as an accident or a suicide, but as Abel sees a small boy in the woods by the riverbank, when no one else sees him, he begins to realize that the death of Guy is probably far more than just an accident. In order to track down the truth, Abel turns to Carlin Leander (Rachelle Lefevre), a swim team member who was Gus's only apparent friend.

Carlin is shattered at Guy's death and confesses to Abel that her close friendship with Guy made her bullying boyfriend jealous, but the more significant confession is that some of the students at Chalk Hall have been involved in strange initiation rights in the woods that involve smearing each other with their own blood, even the townsfolk admit that the Hall gives them the "creeps."

As Abel uncovers this web of intrigue, he finds that Guy's death is just one more episode in a School that is has been mired in corruption and police payoffs. But Abel also has his own demons to contend with - his own brother Frank committed suicide, and as he tries to connect with his father, he must also come to terms with the terrible mistake that led to his Frank's death. Perhaps his affair with the lovely Betsy (Jennifer Ehle) a sophisticated photography teacher at the local school will help him exorcise his insecurities.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Luster on March 29, 2006
Format: DVD
Go into this expecting something like a "Midsomer Murder" and you won't be disappointed. This is not a fast paced in your face shootem up as perhaps some people need a fix for action. However, it is a good movie that although occasionally convaluted still delivers a good story. Good acting, sets, and music make this a worthy rental and I even intend to buy it as I think it is very rewatchable. Burns does a fine job and the rest the cast are more than competant. The camera work is excellent and the director does a great job of making us feel haunted. Many will in fact feel deja vu as one reviewer mentioned. Perhaps from your university days, perhaps from somewhere else. Fans of mysteries should enjoy it. Especially those that enjoy the "Stone Cold" style and not just "Die Hard". Most Hollywood Videos carry this so rent it and I think you will agree it is worth owning.
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58 of 70 people found the following review helpful By J. Bongiorno on January 4, 2007
Format: DVD
Gorgeously brooding cinematography, brilliant and perfectly chosen cast and a deeply emotive score characterize this melancholy reflection on the death of a young man and the ripples it has on the lives of a cop, a teacher and a close friend. Easily one of the best films of 2005 that sadly fell under the radar. This is one of those rare gems that real film lovers will discover in the years to come and hold up as an example of what a great movie can really be.

Sadly now you're stuck with reviews on from 3 camps:

1) The book purists who decry any derivation from the original source material and refuse to look at the film apart from the novel (a complaint that's understood but unjustified and unfair when judging a film on its own merits);

2) Moronic, tasteless idiots (usually younger viewers but not necessarily) who lack a brain, a heart and any measure of patience for anything that doesn't involve slick antiheroes, fast-paced violence and debasing sex;

3) Fans of the material who like what they've seen but struggle to properly synopsize or understand it due to the film's subtleties and metaphoric nature. I'll put myself in this latter category as I think the film is best experienced than read about, but as there are so many dim-witted responses to this film, I might as well try my own dim-witted attempt to explain what is so incredible about this picture.

I won't go into the plot, save to say that it begins with the discovery of a body in a river and the investigation by an honest police officer (played by Burns) who starts to see evidence that more is involved than an accident.
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