Based on the horrifying real-life murder of a young California girl, this "powerful portrait" (Newsweek) of deadly, disaffected teens stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix), Crispin Glover (Charlie's Angels), Ione Skye Leitch (On... more »e Night Stand), Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination) and Dennis Hopper (Ed TV) in a tale that is "chilling to witness" (The New York Times). On the bank of a river lies the naked body of a brutally murdered young girl. Atthe nearby high school, Samson (Roebuck) brags to Matt (Reeves) and his friends about how he killedher. Drunk and stoned, the doubting teens trudge to the river and discover that he isn't lying. Andoddly, they decide to protect Samson behind a loyal wall of secrecy. Tormented with guilt, Matt questions their silence and suddenly finds himself in a troubling position: should he do what he thinksis right, or should he keep quiet and live with this demon for the rest of his life?« less
Sarah F. (keanupattinson) from INDIANAPOLIS, IN Reviewed on 7/20/2009...
I actually enjoyed this movie but I felt that Crispin Glover really stole the show, Keanu Reeves was pretty good in this :)
Forget Blue Velvet...
Kelly EC | England | 10/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"River's Edge is a shocking, real life, under-rated and very unavailible 80's cult movie. It about how a gang of teenages cope when a friend murders a girl and leaves her body naked beside the river. The haunting atmosphere and horrific imagery are comendable, but its the characters that really bring this film alive. They also bring some wonderful moments of unexpected humour (yes! It is funny!).Okay, first and formost there's Crispin Glovers enthralling Layne. He is basically the only kid who reacts to the killing, however his warped morality makes him side with the killer. Glovers performance really lights up the screen and his character has a same weasely appeal as Mr Pink had in Reservoir Dogs. This is a truely special role.But it doesn't stop there. I was also seriously facinated by the boy who played Tim (Damien was it?). The kid is hard as nails and had a burning precense. Then there's John (the all important role of the killer). The guy playing the character really looks like the blank psycho's you see on the news. A really hate worthy villian.Denis Hopper is as good as ever playing the demented Feck and (Shock! Horror!) Keanu Reeves is pretty damn good as Matt. I used to be one of the masses of people who would slate Keanu's acting- but since seeing "My own private Idaho" and this, I'm having to eat my words.I hope this cracking and important film will be widely availible soon. Teen films these days tend to be utterly souless, brain dead crap."
Ratspit | California, United States | 07/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a teen in the 80's right during when this movie takes place, and I lived in La Habra, California. Though there was no murder among the people I hung out with, I thought this movie did a fantastic job of getting a lot of important points and feelings across about the 80's. This move came out in 1986, and I saw it a few years later. And, it is still, if even more so, relevant today. River's Edge may not be the Dazed and Confused movie for the 80's or do what Dazed did or tried to do, but it is not trying to be. I think River's Edge got across the bleak, "just existing" hole that a lot of us were in at the time, and it hit home with a whole lot more that is hard to explain. I'm sure other people have very different experiences about the 80's. I was a Metaler back then, and still am one now (Up The IRONS!), and there is a certain something about this movie that brings back a flood of memories, both good and bad, things I wish I could have done differently back then and things that I'm glad I experienced. As for River's Edge, it's certainly worth experiencing if you grew up in the 80's with dysfunctional family, friends, school life, etc. It hits real close to home in some places, and it's also worth seeing if you weren't there but want to try to understand. The acting, the directing, and the story, are all very well done. It's a disturbing, thought provoking drama about a particular group and type of people in a particular time (the 80's), but it could easily take place any time and among anyone.
As the trivia at IMDB also points out: Although it is a work of fiction, the movie was inspired by the actual murder of Marcy Conrad, who was killed by her boyfriend Anthony Jacques Broussard in Milpitas, California in 1981. And, Neal Jimenez (the writer) based the characters on friends he went to school with in Sacramento, California. Also worth noting, the river scenes were filmed in Sacramento California, and the School scenes were filmed at Verdugo Hills High School - 10625 Plainview Avenue, Tujunga, Los Angeles, California, USA."
Doesn't quite add-up, but still unforgettable
Rottenberg's rotten book review | nyc | 01/25/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was a great movie, but it's not quite the social indictment that it purports to be. Mostly it works on the power of its stars and some godawfully chilling mood music.Samson (AKA "John") is a not-so-gentle giant of a teen who impulsively strangles his girlfriend. Though the murder and murderer are quickly common knowledge to local high-school denizens, nobody immediately runs to the police. This doesn't keep just about everybody her age from gawking at her now stripped corpse when it's found along the river's edge. Various reasons keep Samson's peers from even alerting the police to the body - mostly they have to do with loyalty. In a bizarre twist, their loyalty stems not from Samson, but from his friend Layne, a local Death-Metal kid who is determined not to "narc" out one of his own. While the rest remain silent, Layne makes Samson's safety and escape his personal crusade. Matt (Keanu Reeves) stirs from the pack, and calls the police. At first a suspect (he can't explain to the police the delay) Matt's released, whereupon he pretends to help Layne keep Samson safe. Most of the film is confined to the late hours of a single night, when our characters split up and tragically collide. When police flood the streets looking for Samson, it's clear that somebody "Narced". Though Layne never suspects Matt, Matt's younger brother immediately fixates on his elder sibling's betrayal, and plots revenge. At first, Layne stashes Samson with Feck (Dennis Hopper), an elder pot-head who's on the run for murder, but Samson is too impulsive to stay in one place for very long. When Feck runs out of beer, the pair leave the safety of Feck's house for beer, bullets and a trip back to the river's edge."River's Edge" is a stirring flick, but it's not quite the statement of society's collapse that it purports to be. (A nebbish, conservative student is put-down for just that sort of self-righteousness late in the story.) Just too much of the story doesn't add up. Matt's mom is simply weak - she's got a bossy live-in boyfriend, and looks to be have barely recovered from the sort of teenage existence now suffered by her kids. (instead of being emboldened, she's actually the weakest character in the flick - "I'm not your mother", she rants near the end "You're all mistakes!") Matt's brother plots revenge for Matt's treason - but he never connects with other characters in a way that suggests his loyalty. The other's are supposedly in sway to Layne, but Crispin Glover's mannerisms are less death-metal than post-modern mime (he simulcasts most of his lines with his hands) and he can barely hold himself together, let alone his peers. While separated from Layne, Matt uses his new-found inner strength to get closer to Clarissa (Ione Skye), but the story isn't sure which is really causing the other (maybe Clarissa is actually inspiring him to think past Layne). Especially weird is the way that while Layne searches for Samson, Matt runs into him at a liquor store after hours. There, using Feck's gun, and in front of Matt, Samson forces the storeowner to sell Matt beer. Matt never tells Layne of the meeting. The biggest hole is Feck. The flick tosses him and Samson together in a night that climaxes with something out of "Of Mice and Men" - but the script only partly succeeds in creating that intimacy between Feck and Samson. When Feck later says of Samson "he didn't love her", it's unclear whether he's referring to Samson's murdered girlfriend or to Elly, Feck's blow-up doll and captive passenger on that last night.That said, this is still an incredible flick. Crispin Glover is still unforgettable as Layne (after watching enough of "Edge" you may find it hard not to talk like him). The plot, for its holes, stays focused on that one last night. If the ending is way-too-pat, it's probably because the flick's ambition is more than it can achieve. In any case, I sat down for this click and couldn't pull myself away. Supposedly based on a true story, "River's Edge" should be appreciated on its own, without us having to wonder where the true story became a way-out cautionary tale of impulsive murder and misplaced loyalty."
Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction !!!
Kelly EC | 04/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you ever doubted that truth is stranger than fiction, check out this true story and masterful film that became an instant cult classic in 1987, and still survives today as a case study in adolescent psychology at many major universities. Director Tim Hunter (Saint of Fort Washington) brings to life this spine chilling yet somber contemporary drama that will have you not believing your eyes, or the fact that this story is a true one. This film exemplifies a raw, honest look at teenage alienation and ambivalence, where values have been twisted far beyond adult comprehension. It is an account of an actual event whereby a close knit group of teenagers discover that one of their own has killed his girlfriend. Emotionally ill prepared, they struggle to differentiate between friendship and responsibility. What ensues is a chain of events that is as mesmerizing as it is incredible, and as hypnotic as it is horrifying! Expertly cast and acted, this film is brought to life by very memorable character portrayals by Crispin Glover (Layne), Keanu Reeves (Matt), Ione Skye (Clarissa), Roxana Zal (Maggie), Daniel Roebuck (Samson), Joshua Miller (Tim ), and Dennis Hopper (Feck) as a half crazed psychopathic murderer himself. The close associations drawn by this film with such things as sex and death will linger in your consciousness for days on end, and compel you to see this movie again and again. Truly a work of cinematic art and great film making. Excellent !!!"
EDGE OF OUR SOCIETY
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 10/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I think "River's Edge" was the precursor of Larry Clark's movies which I adore. It's a terrifying story about troubled teenagers, how they discover their classmate killed his girlfriend and how they act in this situation. Their indifference and unconcern shocks and intimidate as we see another latest X-generation waste their lives. "Rivers's Edge" is disturbing in the last degree and at times very hard to watch but it's the kind of a movie that really touches your heart. The director Tim Hunter showed remarkable talent in this work and it's a pity he didn't make something noticeable since then. I'd like to mention the cast which is also great - Keanu Reeves (who's interesting to watch at that young age), Dennis Hopper (who's good as always) and Crispin Glover with Daniel Roebuck who both played just awesome, maybe it was their best part ever. "River's Edge" make you ponder about todays youth but you know - the film (which by the way was based on a true story) was made about twenty years ago, so now those kids must be in their late 30-s. And they must have grown up into decent clerks, fathers etc. They hardly all became criminals. So I guess every time has its "lost" generation. But then they somehow find themselves. And that's a gratifying thought."