The River Wild  » Movies  »
4.0
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  • The thing I like about The River Wild is it's a classic thriller that has plenty of elements in it to make it very believable and, more importantly, keeps the suspense building
  • Streep doesn't panic and her and her ex-husband (I think that is the character Tom Strathairn is supposed to be playing) do everything possible to escape, including trying to tip the raft over
  • After all, everyone knows the best villains aren't the ugly, violent ones
  • Considering it was dark, I don't think it's too much to assume he might have missed and you would think he would take a minute or two to find the body in the river and fire off a couple more rounds just to be safe
  • And, for that reason, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good film to watch

    • by Steve
      TRUSTWORTHY

      all reviews
      Most movies that star Kevin Bacon have him as a lovable person. The River Wild is one of those movies that’s a bit different because it turns the guy who usually plays a hero into the villain and the contrast works. The thing I like about The River Wild is it’s a classic thriller that has plenty of elements in it to make it very believable and, more importantly, keeps the suspense building. Meryl Streep plays the mother of a family that is on a rafting vacation and they encounter Kevin Bacon’s character Wade; who seems friendly at first but turns out to be a robber who is trying to flee the police. The thing about this is Wade starts out being a very friendly person but you sense there is something about him that just isn’t right.

      And, when you hear about an armed robbery over the radio, you kind of suspect he might be involved but don’t really know for sure until he reveals all his cards and takes the family hostage and forces them to help him in his escape. The thing I like about this movie is the fact the victims


      in the movie are strong throughout. Streep doesn’t panic and her and her ex-husband (I think that is the character Tom Strathairn is supposed to be playing) do everything possible to escape, including trying to tip the raft over. This is met by Bacon’s character who doesn’t seem to be the most intelligent person in the world and has a major vulnerability in the fact he can’t swim.

      Yet, every attempt by his victims to escape; even those that should succeed, are met with failure; something that really builds the suspense and has your heart racing throughout because you really have to feel for them. If you take into account the beautiful back drop and the added danger of rafting down part of the river that has never been successfully navigated, you have a movie that remains a true thriller even though it was made 14 years ago. Adding to the movie is Bacon himself. Like I said before, I’m used to him being the good guy.

      But, much like John Travolta in his bad-guy roles, he manages to use the charm that made him a good hero and twist it enough to make him ...


      • a believable villain. After all, everyone knows the best villains aren’t the ugly, violent ones. They are the ones who can charm you into liking you then surprise you when they show just how harmful they can be. The thing I liked is the fact Wade was calm throughout the entire film.

        He had the odds stacked against him and even his partner at times seemed to have second thoughts. But, he kept perfectly cool and seemed a bit sadistic at times in an effort to maintain a sense of control. Streep also did a great job in this movie. Too many thrillers show the female characters as being weak and timid.

        The reality is, the best victims are those who are strong because, like I mentioned before, it adds to the frustration when they fail to escape. I was amazed to learn Streep did most of her own stunts in this film; something that really increased the respect I had for her. Of course, some scenes in the movie were a bit too much. For example, when the ex-husband tries to steal the gun and is supposedly shot, you think the bad guys would

        make even half an effort to confirm he’s dead.

        Instead, we are supposed to assume the fact because a shot is fired and we hear splashing in the river (which is enough for Bacon’s character to give up the chase). Considering it was dark, I don’t think it’s too much to assume he might have missed and you would think he would take a minute or two to find the body in the river and fire off a couple more rounds just to be safe. But, again, it’s a movie and, if he would have followed through, they would have had to re-write one of the major plot points toward the end. So, even with that in mind, I would definitely give this movie a high rating.

        As far as thrillers are concerned, not only is this a good thriller, it’s one that other movie writers should watch when looking for an example of what makes a good thriller. Even after seeing it when it first came out, I was still on the edge of my seat 14 years later. And, for that reason, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good film to watch. I just hope you aren’t scared of water.




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