Peter Soffel is the stuffy warden of a remote American prison around the turn of the century. His wife, Kate, finds herself attracted to prisoner Ed Biddle. She abandons her husband and ... See full summary »
A somewhat mentally handicapped 20-year-old man works as a laborer, but everyone abuse his naiveté. A nice 40-year-old American woman hires him one day and they become close. However, the town and his family see her as predatory.
Tom and Mae Garvey are a hard working farming couple living with their two children on the east Tennessee farm owned by Tom's family for generations. They and many of their neighbors have hit hard times of late. A downturn in the economy has led to dwindling land prices. But the biggest problem of late has been that their crop land has been prone to flooding as the property is adjacent to a river. Manipulating the powers that be including a local senator and the local bank, Joe Wade, who also grew up in the area and now runs the local milling company that sets the local grain prices, is working behind the scenes to buy up the properties along the river for a song as he wants to build a dam which would flood the Garvey's and others riverfront properties. The dam would generate electricity, but more importantly for Joe it would provide irrigation opportunities for farm properties away from the river, such as his own. Tom already intensely dislikes Joe as he and Mae used to go together. ... Written by
I'll agree with most of the previous comments on The River, but will also add that the focus of the very last confrontational scene defines for us the essence of the film and brings forth in the heartless protagonist, Mr. Wade, what he had so humanly (inhumanely?) failed to render throughout the entire story -- respect for those he was trying to selfishly destroy. If you've ever watched just one lonely individual (Mel Gibson in this case) do only what he/she could do (grab a couple mud bags) to make a difference against overwhelming odds, then to be joined in the task by those who were too paralyzed to even think, you'll find similar and inspiring action here, yourself caught up in the grittiness it all takes, and you'll almost rise from your seat to help patch the breached water wall with them.
One man prevailed, an entire valley's worth of beaten-down folk rallied, and what machinery couldn't absolutely guarantee, slogging feet and wet, muddy hands secured.
You just have to love it.
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