Thaddeus Mackenzie (Chamberlain), a wealthy lawyer, learns that he is dying and decides to sell all of his property and visit his old friend Allen Hayden (Imperioli). Allen is a struggling artist with a passion for life w... more »ho once survived by working the streets, but now is romantically involved with Eva, a wealthy European gallery owner living in L.A. Thaddeus implores Allen to find Jamie (Duval), a young street hustler that Thaddeus had once tried to rescue. Allen returns to the streets to face the dark corners of his past where he must choose between what he left behind and the uncertainty that lies ahead.« less
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"RIVER MADE TO DROWN IN has so much going for it that it is a shame it did not enjoy a wider audience when it was released. Perhaps with Richard Chamberlain's new book about his 'coming out' on the bookstore shelves more interest will be created for this well made, well acted, albeit dark film. This is a slice of life in LA that manages to capture an atmosphere that propels the story of a once wealthy lawyer who, dying of AIDS, returns to an ex-lover to 'replay' his former life before dying. Richard Chamberlain is Thaddeus and the 'hustler' to whom he turns is Allen, played to perfection by Michael Imperioli. Allen is still 'hustling' but at this point his target is a female gallery owner (another excellent performance by Ute Lemper). Thaddeus moves in with Allen with the proviso that Allen find Thaddeus' last hustler lover, one Jaime (again played with conviction and subtlely by James Duval)for final goodbyes. In the end all are faced with the emptiness of the 'live life for the moment ethic' of the Hustler and the John and the vacuum created by Thaddeus' death seems to open the door of possible change for those remaining.Though obviously a low budget film, the director makes excellent use of lighting and locations to create the seedy stench of Santa Monica Bovd and the attendant degrading scenes. The music score uses Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus" and the 'Lacrymosa' from his Requiem to fine effect. In the end it is the quality of performances by Chamberlain, Imperioli (his most sensitive role to date and not at all like his role in The Sopranos), Lemper, and Duval (along with some fine cameo roles from the supporting cast) that makes this a film well worth seeing. Though not for the staunchly homophobic viewer, the general public will gain a better understanding about a segment of life that is usually hidden from view."
Getting Some Direction in Life
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 07/02/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
""River Made To Drown In" looks at Allen Hayden (played by Michael Imperioli), an ex-hustler trying to make good as a modern painter. Allen is wooing an encouraging, well-to-do art gallery owner, Eva Kline (played by Ute Lemper). Then along comes Thaddeus MacKenzie (played by Richard Chamberlain), a wealthy lawyer client of Allen's from years back. Thaddeus, closing out his life before he dies from AIDS, asks to stay with Allen and asks Allen to perform one last favor, to find another, current hustler named Jaime (played by James Duval). Thaddeus loved just Allen and Jaime and wants to do well by both of them. Allen resists but takes on the task. What does Eva think of all this? Why does Jaime lead so dangerous life and not cooperate? As events move along, Allen has to figure out who he really is and how he can make a difference. He ends up an ok guy.It is surprising such a movie would have so strong a cast in the key roles. Chamberlain gives Thaddeus a hearty gay-CEO bonhommie, deliberately (and appropriately) trying to bluster and charm his way past others. Michael Imperioli's Allen is a defensive guy in a shell who lashes out when others get too close. James Duval's Jaime is a believably wary hustler and a believably seeking Buddhist. The supporting cast is fair.The concept of Allen's character development was interesting. The script was moderately good.Allen and Jaime have some dreary to mildly kinky discreet sex scenes with clients. Skin shots are primarily and frequently of Allen. Jaime and Thaddeus display considerably less. In this arena, the back cover of the DVD case, the DVD itself, and the menu all contain a hot-looking picture of Jaime and his co-worker Luis (played by Michael Saucedo) in a bathtub. In the movie, there are only a couple of five-second glorified head-shots from this scene. This advertising still/deleted material could have gone into a photo gallery.The end credits announce a "making of" team, but the DVD has no "making of", deleted scenes, interviews, photo gallery, or commentary. The film deserves more."
Oh! The Horror! (Some spoilers)
membruto | Mount Pleasant, SC United States | 07/11/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"A dreadful waste of talent and celluloid. If you get to the end, ask yourself "What was the point." There was none. Thaddeus (Chamberlain), an aging gay man in the final stages of AIDS, sets out to find the two "loves" of his life--2 street hustlers--under the guise of "helping" them by leaving them his non-existent inheritance and imparting his "wisdom" (also non-existent, as far as I could tell). One of the hustlers had apparently gotten his life in order UNTIL the arrival of his former "lover" (Chamberlain); the other hustler, who looked like he would have been about 10 when he was involved with Chamberlain alternates between street hustling and aspiring to be a Buddhist monk. (Huh?) At the end of the film, Chamberlain is dead and BOTH former lovers are back on the street. (Huh?) Dreadful dialogue. "Since we're both [expletive deleted]-up, we might as well be [expletive-deleted]-up together." Seeing a wonderful actor like Richard Chamberlain as an over-the-top effeminate old man was embarrassing and made me cringe."
A Film with a Spot of Genius
Johnnyjr100 | Pasadena, Ca USA | 10/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recently came across this film (DVD) never having had any clue of its existence. I was profoundly affected by it in no small measure due to the wonderful performances of the major players (as well as those of the supporting cast of very competent Hollywood regulars). Richard Chamberlain (Thaddeus), Michael Imperioli (Allen) and James Duval (Jaime) in particular give heartfelt performances that, in my opinion, either confirmed reasons for (as in the case of Chamberlain) or predicted (as in the case of Imperioli and Duval) the great success of these actors . Chamberlain has intonations and expressions that come from nothing short of great insight into the pains of a character who is facing a death with romantic frustrations. Imperioli, on the other hand, displays a mix of decency and occasional rage which so typifies a person who has internal good within but still has been screwed up by the world around him. James Duval displays uncanny understanding of the nuances of psychological complexity associated with many street hustlers who, very often, need a little love even when they may not let themselves admit it. He will forever be remembered and seen in this movie as the good looking, clean cut, tough, street smart kid who holds it all in until the end when he comes to realize the feelings he holds that he has previously been afraid to embrace. It's all masterfully summed up with his tearful expressions of affection towards the end of the film. The renderings of Clare De Lune in the background of the Santa Monica street scene at the beginning of the film and Mozart's Requiem at the end express the fleeting nature of youth, beauty and life while emoting deep feelings of sorrow and tragedy. The appropriate playing of Ave Verum Corpus towards the end of the film during the art show coincides with an action that Jamie has initiated which, as the ending of the movie seems to indicate, could result in a step towards his salvation (as well as Allen's). A director's cut DVD should be made including a "making of "documentary. Independent films such as this are not to be forgotten. Period. "
H. Jauhar | New Zealand | 10/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Powerful performance by Mr Richard Chamberlain and a completely different one which goes out to show that no subject is difficult for great actors. The story itself is very dark and edgy and everyone else in the cast has done quite a decent job."