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The River Thief (2016)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 14 October 2016 (USA)
1:38 | Trailer

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Diz (Joel Courtney) is a reckless teenage drifter living life on the run. Abandoned by his parents as a child, he looks out for himself and doesn't accept handouts. He takes whatever he ... See full summary »


N.D. Wilson


N.D. Wilson



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Credited cast:
Joel Courtney ... Diz
Paul Johansson ... Saul
Bas Rutten ... Clyde
Raleigh Cain ... Selah
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tommy Cash Tommy Cash ... Marty
Patricia Isenberg ... Nerd Mom
Sonya Katarina ... Extra


Diz (Joel Courtney) is a reckless teenage drifter living life on the run. Abandoned by his parents as a child, he looks out for himself and doesn't accept handouts. He takes whatever he wants and runs. Jaded and determined to answer to no one, Diz lives a life marked by thievery and abandonment. Things change for Diz when he floats into a small town on the Snake River. There he is confronted by an unflappable old man named Marty and falls for Marty's guarded granddaughter, Selah. When Diz robs a local drug-dealing crazy, he becomes the owner of a giant pile of cash and the target of two vicious killers. With more money than he knows what to do with, and criminals at his heels, Diz puts the people he's learned to care about in danger, still trying to win Selah. But some things can't be stolen or bought. The River Thief is a film about guilt, self-sacrifice, and accepting life as a gift.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

14 October 2016 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Moscow, Idaho, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Color (HD)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Production took place in Idaho and Washington over just 10 days. See more »


[first lines]
Diz: [narrating] Some places change things - some days, some people... they can put a mark on you that won't ever wash off. The good ones, and the bad ones. Learned that more than one way. Before all this, life was simple. I was an alley kid. If I needed something and you didn't, I made it mine. An empty bed, a clean shirt, a bike here or a truck there. Might seem awful, but... I never felt bad. Not usually.
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Keepin' Up the Good Love
Written and performed by Tommy Cash
Published by Jack Gale
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User Reviews

"Now bend your damned neck."
15 October 2016 | by bpinkallSee all my reviews

"The River Thief" is unlike any Christian film I have seen. Most Christian films are dishonest, portraying evil in a convenient caricature and clothing good in an unsoiled garment with Bible verses cross-stitched all over. One usually leaves such movies feeling as though he has just witnessed a conflict between angels and demons. But the "The River Thief" is about a conflict between humans.

Diz (Joel Courtney) is an eminently relatable character, hard on the outside but soft on the inside, self-centered but honest. Selah (Raleigh Cain) is proof that godly women need not wear halos and glow in the dark. The chemistry between the two is palpable and genuine. Marty (Tommy Cash) is the soft-spoken but frank grandpa that everyone secretly wishes he had.

The plot is masterful in that it teaches lessons but does so by telling a story. There are multiple lessons--lessons on manhood and womanhood, fatherhood and childhood, courage and faithfulness, forgiveness and thanksgiving. But they are not preached to the audience as to a group of eight-year-olds. In fact, they are often left unspoken. The film is first and foremost a story. Only the one with eyes to see and ears to hear will catch the lessons (along with most of the Bible references). Still, the primary message is plain even to the most disinterested of viewers.

The real showcase of the film is the ending. It is unlike any other ending to a Christian film I have seen, and it is so very satisfying, not because it leaves one with fuzzy feelings inside but precisely because it doesn't. It does what every Christian film ought to do. It crucifies you. And when the credits roll one can begin to hear, ever so faintly, the echo of an empty grave.

The film also showcases breathtaking cinematography. The only complaints I have is that some of the acting, particularly of the extras, is forced and unnatural at times. In two or three places the editing is also a bit choppy. Still, the strengths of the film far outweigh the weaknesses. It is also worth mentioning that the evil in the film is quite graphic at times (guns and blood), so it may not be suitable for young audiences, at least not without parental supervision.

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