The teacher Gail Hartman is facing problems with her marriage with her husband, the workaholic architect Tom Hartman. On the birthday of their son Roarke, Gail decides to leave her daughter with her parents and take her family to raft down a wild river where she was a guide. On the departure, a young man named Wade befriends Roarke and leaves the place with his friends Terry and Frank. Later the family encounters Wade and Terry, who do not have rafting experience, and Gail helps them to cross a whitewater. They get closer to the family and soon Gail and Tom learn a dark secret about Wade and Terry. What will they do to get rid of the men? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Streep rides the rapids and has Bacon for breakfast
Meryl Streep plays a part out of her normal range in Curtis Hanson's 1994 actioner, as an expert whitewater rafter, who has to save herself and her son - eventually with the aid of hubby - from a couple of desperados, who insist on being taken through some awesome rapids. I don't know how much was Streep, how much stunt-double, and how much effects, but her character emerges as a convincing woman of action who is also an anxious mother.
Kevin Bacon is very effective as a regular guy, who just happens to be a psychotic criminal in his off moments; John C Reilly plays his weak, shifty sidekick; and Joseph Mazzello is the son, who initially finds Bacon more fun than his dad. It is David Strathairn, though, who for me takes the male acting honours, as a distant, serious-minded husband and father, who gets going when the going gets tough - though luckily, through thick and thin, he never loses his glasses!
There is more than a touch of Deliverance, and the ending is pre-ordained; but the film is entertaining and gripping throughout, and is aided by some breathtaking Rockies scenery, beautifully shot. (There's a faithful dog too!)
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