The River

"Weak"

The River Review


People talk about The River in the same hushed tones they reserve for Citizen Kane and Grand Illusion, Renoir's best-known film.

It's definitely a lot of firsts: Renoir's first English film, and his first color film. The River is a movie about India -- shot on the Ganges River and telling the story of three teenage girls who fall for the same man (the mysterious stranger in town), to various degrees.

Renoir's film is often described as sweepingly beautiful (which it isn't), a love affair to India (which it is), and a masterful love story (which it doesn't remotely approach). Though proponents always comment about River's Technicolor majesty -- which are absurdly overwrought in their praise -- few bother to talk about The River's story. That's because there isn't much of one, and what is there simply isn't very good. Jean Renoir's greatest films -- Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Lower Depths -- don't involve weepy schoolgirls and their snaggletooth parents. Renoir doesn't know what to do with a romance, and he's got no business turning an Indian girl's memoir into a movie.

And so discussion invariably turns back to how beautiful The River is, but I really don't see that either. The Technicolor -- even on Criterion's restored print -- is still chalky and pastel. And just because a few Indian girls throw colored dust into the air and run around under it, it doesn't make your film great.

No doubt this panning of The River will bring me hate mail -- and while I'll submit that the girls (unknowns, all of them) act well and can genuinely create some emotional energy in the movie, it's the story of The River that's an absolute dud -- and in the end, that's what it's all about. (As a side note, the film has also been accused of being racist.)

Criterion adds an interview with Martin Scorsese (one of the film's biggest supporters), an interview with producer Ken McEldowney, introduction by Renoir, and a documentary about author Rumer Godden and her 1995 trip back to India.

Aka Le Fleuve.



The River

Facts and Figures

Run time: 44 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 7th February 2012

Production compaines: Oriental International Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as The Mother, as The Father, as Mr. John, as Nan, Thomas E. Breen as Capt. John, as Harriet

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.