An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.
The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.
Gail, an expert at white water rafting, takes her family on a trip down a river on which she used to be a guide. Along the way, the family encounters two men who are unexperienced rafters that need to find their friends down river. Later, the family finds out that the pair of men are armed robbers. The men then physically force the family to take them down the river to meet their accomplices. The rafting trip for the family is definitely ruined, but most importantly, their lives are at stake. Written by
No, I didn't say Gail braves the rapids...but Meryl Streep, not only literally, but metaphorically. Streep is definitely the actress of our time, and in no small part to her ability to tackle difficult roles of many colors, and do them without breaking a sweat. Such is true with "The River Wild", a predictable, but entertaining river rapids adventure/hostage drama. Streep incorporates her role with strength, humor, and even a bit of vulnerability. Backed by the menacing Kevin Bacon and the refined David Strathairn (the ultimate everyman...that's a compliment), Streep holds her own in a genre that one doesn't necessarily think of when her name comes to mind. One tremendous scene involves Streep reminding her captor (Bacon) of the dangers of the upcoming waterfall/rapids system known as "The Gauntlet"...Streep whispers determination and threats, promises of anger and doom, directly into Bacon's ears with a quite rage, only to be turned to an edge-of-tears monologue when her family comes to mind. Bravo to Curtis Hanson's pre-"L.A. Confidential" film (1997's SHOULD HAVE for Director and Picture). The plot itself may have holes, but with the talents of Streep, backed with the reliable cast, "The River Wild" packs quite a punch of entertainment and thrills.
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