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The familiar story of Lieutenant Bligh, whose cruelty leads to a mutiny on his ship. This version follows both the efforts of Fletcher Christian to get his men beyond the reach of British ... See full summary »
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Mark Rydell has said of this film: "The River (1984) is a tribute to a vanishing America - - the America of the independent farm family. The Garvey family represent the lifestyle that made America work: continuity of generations, the passing on of traditions and of knowledge and skills from fathers to sons, from mothers to daughters - a way of life in which every member of the family is unique and necessary for the survival of all". See more »
Watch out, Tom! Beth, get in the truck! Tom! Are you hurt?
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Beautifully photographed, but miscast and poorly-directed...
Mel Gibson is wholly unconvincing as a Southern farmer and family man trying to hold onto his river-ravaged land; even when covered in soot and wearing overalls, everything about the young, wiry Gibson breathes prosperity. Corporate shady Scott Glenn (in a sleepwalking performance) wants Gibson and wife Sissy Spacek off their land in order to build a dam and flood the valley (it'll mean more jobs), but Gibson refuses to sell out. Sub-plot with Mel taking factory work (after crossing a picket line) is presumably meant to give us a more complete portrait of the man, but it just makes the character seem hard-headed. Upon opening with a lovely series of nature shots courtesy cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, director Mark Rydell immediately loses his footing with a sequence of contrived family action in a rainstorm (underlined by an awful John Williams score to heighten the drama, which has no pay-off). It's all downhill from there, with petulant, milky-skinned Gibson failing to match up with homespun Spacek, and two perky kids who keep playing to the camera. "The River" was released the same year as "Places in the Heart" and "Country", and was easily the weakest 'farm movie' in the lot. Glossy, superficial, and dull. *1/2 from ****
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