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4.6 out of 5 stars
The River Wild
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2003
Format: DVD
Kevin Bacon can so beautifully play a sadist, a charming and vicious creep, a bad guy that it's almost like he's not acting. And Meryle Streep, trying her hand here in an action film, NEVER seems to be acting - she's always stellar, completely immersed in her character. In The River Wild, Streep plays a suburban mom and former white-water rafting guide who is taking her family on a raft trip for summer vacation. She's a bit on the outs with her husband, who is, at the last minute, too busy to go along - so she and her son go it alone - and quickly run afoul of some killers on the lam. Bacon and a buddy, of course. They coerce Streep to take them down a terrifyingly dangerous stretch of river rapids to escape from the pursuing cops.
Marvelous. And Streep did all the river scenes without the use of a stunt double - which, if you've ever been white-water rafting on a Class 4 or 5 river, is utterly amazing.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2003
Format: DVD
An entertaining journey down a beautiful whitewater river with an age old theme of good vs evil. This is a good movie to just sit back and enjoy the ride even though as the plot develops you may feel bit uncomfortable.
Meryl Streep is outstanding as usual, however I feel Kevin Bacon is even better as the deceptive, yet charming 'bad guy'. There is also some excellent acting by David Straithairn (who portrays Meryl Streep's husband) even though his character is annoyingly pathetic.
The nature cinematography is spectacular and the high intensity musical score only adds excitement to the journey.
I highly recommend watching this one on a home theater system with wide screen and DTS sound decoding.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 1999
Format: DVD
Here is an action flix that belongs is everyone's DTD DVD collection. Loaded with action, great acting on all parts, the DTS sound was awe inspiring to say the least. GET IT, YOU"LL LOVE IT!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The opening scenes of THE RIVER WILD show a very buff Meryl Streep rowing in Boston's Charles River accompanied by stirring theme music by Jerry Goldsmith. This promise of quality is fulfilled throughout the suspenseful albeit rather predictable movie after the setting switches to the western wilderness. Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon are among Hollywood's most talented and versatile actors and in this outing Streep believably plays a mom who meets extreme physical and emotional challenges (while piloting a white river raft no less) after she encounters Bacon a cunning criminal psychopath. The river scenes are beautiful and I've read that Streep actually did her own stunts for the most part. There are a couple of surprises along the way to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. A good movie for anyone but especially a family with older kids who want a little bit but not too much edge to their viewing experience.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Meryl Streep is certainly an amazing performer. Few actresses can enliven such a formulaic movie as "The River Wild." And yet, Streep's portrayal of Gail is as always brilliant. Meryl uses her exquisite face, and exhibits her continued range of performances in her first (and probably only) "action" role. She is truly the best of our generation's many fine actresses. Kevin Bacon is effectively chilling; Joseph Massello shows a good range for such a young actor; David Straitharn is at first too wooden, but as his character grows, so does his performance; John C. Reilly, as always, is efficiently supportive.
The vistas are beautiful and the final rafting scenes breathtaking. A good if not great film.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2000
Format: DVD
There's no denying that Meryl Streep is one of her generation's finest actresses (if not the best of all time). So what's she doing an action movie? It's not quite that simple. Directed by L.A. Confidential's Curtis Hanson, River Wild is a tuant and suspenseful thriller that does for rafting...(I'll spare you the cliche). The film's central antagonist is played to melevolent perfection by Kevin Bacon as a theif who when all else fails hijacks a riverraft, it's guide and her family. After the characters are adequently devolped Hanson leads us right into the action, playing to our fears of nature and eachother. Filling the supporting role of Bacon's dim acompliss is John C. Reilly (who made his biggest impression on me as Chest Rockwell in Boogie Nights). Also watch for Ben Bratt as Indian Johnny (a nickname given to his character in a particularly humorous and equally threatening scene with Bacon).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
Meryl Streep plays a woman who takes her family white water rafting in an attempt to revive their disintegrating relationships .Thr trip goes well at first but events take a darker turn when they encounter armed robbers -played by Kevin Bacon and John C Reilly -who commandeer their raft and seek to make away with their haul ,a substantial $ 250,000 .As her husband (David Strathairn) wimps out it is Streep who has to step up and lead the battle against the bad guys .

This is a terrific white knuckle ride ,the striking rural scenery making a change from the urban mean streets of most thrillers and the action scenes are well executed by director Curtis Hanson .Bacon and Reilly are excellent as is Strathairn but the real revelation is Streep here thoroughly convincing as a strong willed wife and mother fighting physically and emotionally for her family .She has alsways previously struck me as a technically gifted but rather distant performer but she eschews the usual accents and mannerisms to give a persuasive peformance .

While action full the movie is not unduly violent and I recommned it enormously
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I had high expectations for this movie--and they were fulfilled! Meryl Streep (as normal) brings her character to life! And this time, her character is no softie at all, like you may guess the first few minutes into the movie. Streep plays a suburban wife named Gail with two young children; when the family takes a vacation to a river area where Gail was once a guide, they expect nothing but a good time. What they get is kidnapped, by some rotten creeps who need Gail to guide them and some stolen stuff down the river to get away from the cops. When Gail trys to save her family and ditch the bad-guys, the audience is rewarded with tons of amazing visuals, excellent acting, and non-stop action! Definately reccomended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 9, 2010
Format: DVD
A glorious movie that has it all - adventure, scenery, soundtrack, casting perfect for the roles and the underlying story set in the wild country of Montana.

It opens with fluid movement of a boat gliding through gold-touched, calm water that grabs the viewer the moment the sound track begins to play; a splendidly filmed intro of Streep rowing in the placid water of an Old Boston setting, complete with the big, gentle river overhung with foilage and it's Revolutionary background of stunning old stonework of building and bridge; she is obviously keeping in shape for her trip back to her homeland and it's wild river; but as it progresses, we glimpse into her psyche; it is not merely an exercise, it is an internal challenge with herself; she must row under the bridge before the train rumbles across it. You witness intimately the determination building in her expression as she makes her thrust into the final stretch. Beginning with this moment, it unfolds into the underlying theme, poignant in it's simplicity - and although it's been said before, "many times, many ways", it pulls it off splendidly as it begins to delve into the best and the worst of us, and of the undiscovered elements lying deep within the character of people we know or should know - best.

It is about Gail, a strong, adventurous Alpha female confident of her abilities, and of sound character played with anticipated magnificence by Meryl Streep; her little boy, Roarke, whom she desires to keep in close contact with her own family roots even though they are living half a continent and culture away, in Boston; her husband, Tom, (great job by David Straithairn) for whom she has lost respect and feels that he is not only struggling in his work as an architect, but has, in the process, sold his soul to it and can think of nothing else. As we discover, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Kevin Bacon as Wade, the modern day outlaw who has masterminded - if that is the right word - an armed robbery of a cattle auction, establishes his "real bad boy" role with talent, and his slow-witted but harmless companion, played by John C. Reilly, has found himself deep in a situation he is ill-equipped to play with. The unlikely combination of individual people and their problems meet fatefully at the wilderness river where they are all embarking down it for entirely different reasons; and from there it becomes a battle of wits, arrogance vs ingenuity and ability, Love against Lost; with the bonds between Gail, Tom and Roarke that have nearly been broken by circumstance brought together once again by need. I suspect that Tom will return to Boston with a new opinion of himself.

A beautiful movie, directed and cast impeccably, this is one for the home collection, in my view - and I highly recommend it as one to watch over and over again, never tiring in the scope of the message - and being transported from the serene, New England intro as it melds into wild white water and mountainous splendor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2000
Format: DVD
The adrenaline rush that comes from this movie really does not compare to many other adventure movies, in the sense that Curtis Hanson Keys into the human instinct of survival. Building upon themes found in the movie Deliverance, Hanson slowly strips away the elaborate city lives of the individual characters and sets them foth as animals in a stunningly beautiful landscape. Such a wonderful psychological experiment alone would be worth the dvd, but the scenery, and cinemetography are spectacular. What makes this movie, though, a classic, above all is the CHARACTERIZATION. The reality of this movie is brought to us by the characters. A viewer may easilly get the feeling that them or a neighbor of theirs could have easilly been put in this story and that makes you feel that much more for the characters. The fears, the paranioa, the abolute lunge for survival race not only on the screen but through your very own blood. This movie is an experience that every active mind should have the pleaure of ingulging in, and I hope that you are able to experience this classic on DVD, because it is truly a masterful creation.
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