NEW River Murders (DVD)
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The sins of the past are not forgotten in this chilling suspense thriller starring Ray Liotta, Christian Slater and Ving Rhames. When the first body was discovered, it seemed a coincidence. But now homicide detective Jack Verdon (Liotta) has cause to worry: the victims of a series of brutal sex murders are all his former girlfriends. Suspected by the FBI agent who’s taken over the case (Slater) and suspended by his captain (Rhames), Jack must work outside the law if he’s to find the killer, save his future and protect what’s left of his past.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Would I watch again? - I don't know if I will or not
*Also try - In Her Skin & Untraceable
Liotta's looking well-preserved, if chunky. Slater does his patented smarmy Nicholson imitation. Rhames underplays it to good effect.
For fans of these three, well worth seeing.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(5.2) The River Murders (2011) - Ray Liotta/Ving Rhames/Christian Slater/Gisele Fraga/Sarah Ann Schultz/Michael Rodrick
There's a real kindness and touching quality to him when he's not being himself, or perhaps this is an aspect of his real self that we don't get to see very often. Whatever the case, and much like his incredible work in the fantastic 2004 film 'Control', I really appreciate these performances.
In this production Liotta plays Jack Verdon, a veteran police detective who finds himself at the crux of a series of murders that span the entire country. A brutal serial killer is on the loose and, one way or another, every death tracks back to him. Both his own department and the FBI have taken note - and they're looking for answers that he can't or won't supply. It's the latter option that has irked fellow law enforcement officers and placed suspicion onto Jack's actions, who seems unwilling to fully reveal his relationships to several of the victims.
It's clear he's being framed, but who can he trust? And what's really behind all the deaths?
The story itself is a cobbled patchwork of other similar films and themes, so don't expect any blindside plot shockers. Instead, if you're interested in seeing an actor going against type, then this fits into an unusual group of films that quietly blends and merges between strict definitions. In many ways this flick deviates from the action/thriller genre, under which it's categorized, and fits more into the character study of productions.
Every player on set executed solid performances with no obvious flaws or missteps; the script is reasonable, though uninspired. A passable flick that'll eat up a decent chunk of a rainy/snowy afternoon.
- The casting of Ving Rhames and Christian Slater is depressing evidence that both actors have fallen off the A-List. More surprising for Rhames, much less so for Slater who has long since jumped the shark of his own career.
Slater has been a interesting puzzle for me. Every time I've written him off - he stages a brief and memorable comeback. Recently, it was his insanely hilarious neo-hippie character in "My Name Is Earl". Undoubtedly impressing more than just myself, because soon thereafter he was given two more shots as lead actor in two different tv series. He's like the battery bunny of Hollywood, the guy keeps going and going; even though the beat is monotonously repetitive.
I do recommend this movie.
Even though the killer's identity is revealed early on, his motivation is concealed but obvious at the same time.
Liotta, so good in GOODFELLAS and NARC, gives an oddly uneven performance, bouncing all over the place, underacting key scenes and overacting in lower-key moments. He has little chemistry with his wife, an underwhelming Gisele Fragas, but has some good scenes with Ving Rhames, who is wasted as his partner. Christian Slater drops by between his cancelled TV series to caricaturize an FBI profiler. Michael Rodrick as the disturbed John is the most effective performer, his pretty boy looks masking a dark secret. The religious overtone of the film is accentuated by a haunting musical score and there is some lovely Washington state scenery, even though it's always raining.
THE RIVER MURDERS often plays like an episode of 48 HOURS MYSTERY, but I got involved in its script, despite the movie's obvious flaws. Crime enthusiasts should be entertained but it's not the most memorable of the genre's lot.