Jason returns home to get away while he studies for the upcoming bar exam. After visiting his oldest friend, a "coulda-been-girlfriend" who is now engaged, and a pushy preacher, his easygoing summer becomes filled with unwanted drama. Over the few months he's there, he begins to question what life is about, and what is his purpose in it? Written by
A temporary music track including the band Sigur Rós was used while editing. The director liked it so much, that he asked composer Craig Morris to try to "make it sound like that!" See more »
Before Mr. Blayton suggests they remove Marcus from the scholarship consideration, you can see lights reflected in the door as the man enters the meeting late. See more »
So, what's her name?
No, it's nothing like that. In fact, it's kind of the opposite of that.
Oh no. Not like the opposite opposite. I mean like the opposite, different. I don't know what I mean.
See more »
For Kerri is the final credit. This is for director Zac Heath's wife. See more »
You Dream in Colors
Written by Rachel Farrar
Performed by Rachel Farrar
Courtesy of Rachel Farrar See more »
This is Christianity at its very core: deep, refreshing and vital.
"The River Within" lays out a thick, rich plot filled with the everyday events that define our lives, from the joy of a simple kickball game to the panic of an unplanned pregnancy. Yet the film is not about any of those singular events. It is about the fabric of lives intersecting on a journey of Christian discovery.
Josh, a 20-something student, has returned home to northern Arkansas to study for his bar exam. He is on track to become a lawyer even though he doesn't have the passion for it. He is welcomed by old friends who all ask, "What are you doing here?" Josh is wondering the same thing. Adrift and conflicted, he stumbles into helping as a youth pastor, all the while sending the wrong message to his former girlfriend, Layla, who is now engaged. After a rough beginning, Josh finds he has a gift for working with young people. Not only does the church's youth group benefit from his friendship, but Josh also begins to feel a sense of worth, a sense of purpose.
"The River Within" is driven by characters who are presented as real people with genuine attributes and realistic faults. The cast consists of unpolished actors who haven't been layered with the Hollywood patina that defines almost all commercial films. These actors - most of whom were not paid for their work in the project - give startling and refreshing performances that feel absolutely real. Audiences might want to apologize for eavesdropping into these private lives.
The production budget for the film was less than $40,000, about the same price as a new mini van with a few bells and whistles. In terms of return for the dollars spent, writer- director Heath has created a very moving and powerful film. While the film's unwavering Christian message is the foundation for the movie, the mechanics and the details of the message are stripped away to focus on how faith in God affects the daily lives of these characters. This is Christianity at its very core: deep, refreshing and vital.
And then there is the river - at once a life force that nourishes both the body and the soul but is capable of great destruction, too. The director keeps returning to the metaphor of the river to signal a balance between respect, admiration, power and mystery. A baptism scene at the river cements the metaphor and allows members of the audience to compare their own inner river with that offered by belief in the film's message.
"The River Within" offers a unique opportunity for audiences to see a fine writer-director at the start of his career. Heath deserves a bigger budget to tell his stories. Thinking audiences deserve a film like "The River Within." It is a fine film that deserves attention.
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