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River Made to Drown In (1997)

 |  Drama  |  20 June 2003 (Finland)
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 261 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

Allen, a struggling young artist who once survived by working in the streets, is now involved with Eva, a wealthy Los Angeles gallery owner. Quite by surprise Allen receives a visit from an... See full summary »

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Title: River Made to Drown In (1997)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Thaddeus MacKenzie
...
Allen Hayden
Ute Lemper ...
Eva Kline
...
Jaime
...
Billy
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Jaime's Mother
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Frank
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Heavyset Man
...
Luis
...
Ray
Michael Kearns ...
Arthur
...
Jack
...
Vagabond
Paul Marius ...
Turk
...
Martin
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Storyline

Allen, a struggling young artist who once survived by working in the streets, is now involved with Eva, a wealthy Los Angeles gallery owner. Quite by surprise Allen receives a visit from an old john, Thaddeus, who is dying from aids and has come to spend his last days somewhere humble ans spare. Allen reluctantly takes him in, straining his relationship with Eva, who slowly discovers the truth about their past. When Thaddeus implores Allen to find Jamie, a young hustler he had once tried to rescue, Allen returns to the streets where he must choose between what he left behind and the uncertainty that lies ahead. Written by Alie Heidema <heidema@wxs.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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Release Date:

20 June 2003 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Cicatrizes do Passado  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Thaddeus MacKenzie: Why do you turn your back on everything? On the people who care about you?
Allen Hayden: Thaddeus, who do you think I am? What did you think we were? Did you think you were my savior? The rich, charitable man who reached out and saved the poor lonely child? No, man, you were a john. You were a sucker. Don't look to me for caring because I don't care. I'll take anyone, I'll take Eva, I'll take you, I'll take anyone, it doesn't matter, because I am a hustler. Whether it's sex, or this bullshit that I sell, ...
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User Reviews

 
Love, sex and death in the 90's

For reasons unknown to me, director James Merendino signed this film as Allen Smithee, a usual sign of discomfort with the final product, or meaning a clash between producers and director. Although producer Jon Powell appears twice in an important role, it is still strange because "River Made To Drown In" is a very good film that in its own way conveys the same feeling of despair and love for youth-as-art found in "Death in Venice" but in the 90s. Written by Paul Marius (who plays the manager of a sex club), it is a perceptive look at the relationship between young male prostitutes and their much older clients ("johns"). These are usually men beyond their sixties who still seek quick and impersonal sex among young guys who could care less for their old-age anguish. Richard Chamberlain plays Thaddeus MacKenzie, an old lawyer with AIDS, who wants to spend his last days with the only two persons he loved, two young hustlers. Allen Hayden (Michael Imperioli) has changed his life style and has become an artist. He is having an affair with Eva (Ute Lemper), a wealthy gallery owner who knows nothing about his past. The other one is even younger, Jaime (James Duval), the son of an ex model and a Buddhist monk, who wants to raise enough money to go visit his father. It is interesting that a young man like Marius, has come with an incisive story and some keen dialogues that could have been written by someone older and perhaps "wiser". What makes the Allen Smithee credit more intriguing is that Merendino is a filmmaker with real talent for directing actors, for composition, and with a good eye for expressing the inherent affective dislocation of the story. He receives good help from cinematographer Thomas Callaway, whose angles, use of cranes, hand-held camera or play with depth of field, convey the distortion of these people's lives. On the other hand, editor Esther P. Russell has made a very good job to suggest the fragmentation of the daily experience of these persons. The cross-cutting between different scenes transforms dialogues to an extent that they have greater meaning because of her editing: take, for example, the dialogue between Thaddeus and Eva on a bench, while both Allen and Jaime are involved in different places, in unpleasant situations with clients. There is no place for silly sentimentality or gratuitous sex scenes here (unless they have been cut), although the story is about love and sex between men: it is an almost heartless film, as most of the characters are. But even then, Merendino and Marius show real affection for these people, and have made a very rewarding and intelligent feature on the hustler scene.


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