The story of a shy boy who gets convinced by his parents to spend a few summer days in the mountains. So, he joins a group, and the vacation begins. Unfortunately, things turn out to be a little tough for our small friend.
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An experienced guide (Vic) accompanies a city boy (Alan) and his three friends on their first wilderness experience. Hoping to teach the four boys lessons not only about the wilderness, but about themselves, Vic pushes them to the limit. Soon after alienating the boys, Vic finds himself in desperate need of help and must rely on his students in order to survive. Written by
Wayne Coleman <email@example.com>
'White Water Summer' is one of those movies that has enormous potential, but only mines the tip of it, making an often very enjoyable movie that could've been so much better. It is likely Kevin Bacon's least known major studio picture, and, had it received a respectable release, could have been very successful. But it didn't. It opened in only a handful of theaters (after two years on the shelf), and disappeared without a trace, grossing less than a third of a million dollars.
The plot is quite simple. Vic, a twentysomething year old with a love for the wilderness (Bacon- 'Flatliners', 'The Hollow Man') leads a group of four boys (age ranging from 14-17) for a month long trek into the untamed Sierra-Nevada mountain range. As time progresses he begins to stray from the group, and not properly look after the four. The three older boys, Chris, Mitch and George, ignore it, but the youngest, Alan, (Sean Astin- 'The Goonies' and the upcoming 'Lord of The Rings' trilogy) sees right through Vic. Vic begins to target Alan, leaving him hanging on the edge of a rock face, and worse.
My only complaint, even if it is rather trivial, is the helicopter shot ending the climax. It is so contrived that it risks taking the rest of the movie down with it, I have never seen three seconds of film so misplaced.
The direction and cinematography are both excellent. The mountain backdrop through much of the film is a spectacular sight, and every location shown is photographed beautifully. The director chose not to litter the film with cheap emotions, as is the case with 99% of movies with a child actor in the lead (Radio Flyer and Simon Birch come to mind).
Much of the original score is very good, but little of the rock music featured in every other scene works. Overall the acting is remarkable. Bacon shines in his role, which, despite being top billed, is nothing more than a supporting role. The movie belongs to Astin, who makes us care for his character, and hate Bacon's.
It's too bad the film isn't more widely known, as it is very good. Easy to recommend, easy to watch, not too memorable, but still well worth the rental.
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