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River of Grass
River of Grass
Actors: Larry Fessenden, Dick Russell, Michael Buscemi, Lisa Bowman, Santo Fazio
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Genres: Comedy, Drama
NR     2003     1hr 40min

This sly low-budget movie, sort of a suburban noir set in North Miami (only a short distance away from the Everglades, the "river of grass"), has an almost documentary feel to its tale of a lost gun that ends up in the ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Larry Fessenden, Dick Russell, Michael Buscemi, Lisa Bowman, Santo Fazio
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Creators: Larry Fessenden, Jim Denault, Kelly Reichardt, Jesse Hartman, Susan A. Stover
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Fox Lorber
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/18/2003
Original Release Date: 10/13/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 10/13/1995
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Goofball noir
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 10/08/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Directed by Kelly Reichardt, whose most recent effort, Old Joy (2006) has been getting great reviews, River of Grass is a kind of nose-thumbing take on film noir on-the-lam road movies, the grand-daddy of which has to be the seminal and amazing Gun Crazy (1949). As in that film--as well as quite a few since--there's a girl and a guy. But in this case, the girl is an unhappy housewife and the guy is a jobless drifter who accidentally comes into possession of a gun.

And in fact, the gun belongs to the girl's father, a detective on the local (read: somewhere in south Florida, near the Everglades) police force. The detective and his cop buddies are shown, not as dumbbells or geniuses either, but as regular guys who are mostly fed up with their lives. What's interesting, among other things, about this film is that the father is an amateur jazz drummer and the film, divided into numbered parts (i.e., we see "1", "2", etc. displayed on screen for each part), each of which is accompanied by the sound of the father's jazz drumming, which lends a kind of mocking takeoff on suspense to the proceedings.

This is not a great film, but it's one with a sharp sense of biting humor, especially at the end, when the girl--played by Lisa Bowman--gets completely fed up with her road partner Lee (Larry Fessenden) and takes appropriate action. Before that, the two of them think they've killed someone, which is the basis for their going on the lam. But this ostensibly crime-fueled road trip is stymied by Lee's total wimpiness.

He can't or won't hit on Cozy (the girl), even though she's decidedly sensuous. He doesn't take chances; he has basically no cajones. Sometimes he talks about his insecurities. All of this adds up to the nose-thumbing of the male archetype/stereotype for this kind of movie and at the same time destroys Cozy's romantic notion of being chased after by authorities, always on the run. When she finds out that they never had to be on the run in the first place, this combined with Lee's wimpiness leads her to some drastic action.

This is a decidedly different take on film noir and while not completely successful (hence the three stars) does have enough merit to warrant at least one viewing."