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The River [HD DVD]

Mel Gibson , Sissy Spacek , Mark Rydell    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   HD DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a Blu-ray player or a PS3.

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The River [HD DVD]

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable July 18 2004
By SH_
Take a culture that usually turns out trash and an actor who usually delivers trashy violence and somehow the director, the writers and Mel himself have turned out a truly brilliant movie, reminiscent of Grapes of Wrath, totally different from the usual Hollywood junk that so wounds America's image abroad - and it's aboput ordinary. poor. unglamorous, normal people.
Should be compulsory viewing. Slightly frantic in its piling of calamities upon the characters but the real high point is where the steel plant workers do NOT beat up the scab farm workers after the strike. At last, something American where the plot is not about sex, money, violence and fantasy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "The River" Aug. 21 2002
Format:VHS Tape
The art of farming is by far the oldest, most time-honored tradition. It is the ideal way to make an honest living, raise your family away from the madness of the city and gain self-satisfaction by doing something that really matters. "The River" effectivly portrays the plight experienced by many American farmers during the 1980's economical recession. Flooding, forclosure and overdue bills were just a part of life for those most discouraging and undeniably frightning of years. Farm-friendly legislation has been passed in recent years so farmers can apply for disaster relief, equipment loans and bankrupcy loans. The goal is to keep the Family Farm as part of American culture. "The River" was shot in Northwestern Tennessee near Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City and also in Birmingham, Alabama. A 400-acre parcel of land alongside the Holston River, in Tennessee was cleared and turned into a real working farm in just four weeks. The flood scenes were produced in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority using a dam upriver which was slated for repairs. The scenery in the movie is absolutly breathtaking. The mountains, fields and river all seem to blend into one big beautiful picture. "The River" was the third in a trio of farming-based movies that year. The other two are "Country", with Jessica Lange and "Places In the Heart" with Sally Field.
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Format:VHS Tape
I am inclined to blast away at the suspected anti-capitalist bias of the film's originators. This, however, would not be entirely fair of me. This film superbly depicts the crisis many families are forced to endure when caught within the gears of economic "creative destruction." It is therefore morally imperative that we do not turn our head away from this tough to handle subject matter. This beautiful film reminds us that real people often suffer the consequences of our abstract principles. Does this alone invalidate these principles? No, but we should always be cognizant of the flesh and blood dimensions of our decisions. Mel Gibson gives a powerful performance as a proud man who is losing the battle to save the family farm. The wife played by Sissy Spacek desires to be loyal to her husband while still remaining pragmatic on how best to stabilize the family's rapidly deteriorating financial situation.
Scott Glenn plays the real hero in this movie. His character is a fair and honorable business man who warns the farmer of impending doom. The river according to all reasonable expectations will eventually destroy the farm. Even the farmer grudgingly concedes this possibility. The Glenn character offers the farmer a way out, but the farmer is bull headed and places his love for the agrarian way of life over common sense. Is Gibson's character idealistic and worthy of praise, or merely stubborn and selfish? Each person viewing "The River" will have to decide this for themselves.
The great economist, Joseph Schumpeter, originated the paradoxical term "creative destruction." Throughout history, there are always winners and losers whenever new technology replaces the older methods of earning a living.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The River Aug. 15 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A heart-land tragedy relived annually by the rain and consequential flooding of the family farmland by the adjacent river. Mels' character is sullen and cold. He is the quintessential traditional hardworking farmer. He loves his family and works almost pointlessly to keep them on their doomed property. It's difficult to watch him sulk and suffer inwardly. His character is extremely introverted and stubbornly independent. Sissy Spacek is great as the wife who tries to keep her family's head above water literally. She portrays a strong, willful and faithful person. This is a good rainy night movie. The kids are great actors and contribute a lot to the traditional values and family bonding.
The onscreen chemistry between Spacek and Gibson underscores the uncomfortable aura of the marriage in the movie. There's something strange about the couple, something that just doesn't click; a feeling of looming doom regarding their relationship. Scott Glenn's character does not help the uneasy tension.
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The River was an unbelievable histrionic stretch for thespian Melvin Gibson. His complex portrayal of a struggling taciturn farmer required him to be absolutely expressionless, monotone, monosyllabic (lots of grunting) and emotionally flat throughout the entire movie -- and, by golly, he pulled it off like a real trouper. The essence of Melvin's performance in The River was this: He was acting as though he was NOT ACTING. He was, in fact, pretending to be that egregiously bland actor whose name I can't even remember (who starred with J. Lo in The Wedding Planner, Connor McMathews or something like that) and deliver a complete non-performance -- it was Oscar-quality, genius-level non-acting. Die-hard fans will recognize and applaud his relentless, painful efforts to similarly not do any acting in all of his subsequent films, but the fact is, Melvin Gibson's non-acting performance pinnacle was, quite simply, The River.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars great movie
this movie was so good to watch.. actors were great. I recommend this movie to be watched. all different emotions to this movie
Published 13 months ago by leona lapointe
4.0 out of 5 stars a grapes of wrath comaprison
i bought this dvd it seems toshow the influence of grapes of wrath and has the influence of how green was my valley. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2010 by Bharat Ganapathy
5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL, MUST SEE MOVIE
It's excellently played by Sissy Spacek, Mel Gibson, & Scott Glenn, they each played their parts so well you could almost feel the emotions run high, through the struggles... Read more
Published on April 29 2005 by Ninamoosha
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag
Sissy Spacek gives a terrific performance in this seldom-seen "social problem" melodrama. The topic is the plight of the independent farmer, who is much more sympathetic... Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2002 by Timothy Hulsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Gibson Again
Another great film from Mel Gibson.....it would have been so easy to blow the characters on this one, but Gibson pulls it off in what is one of his greatest acting demonstrations... Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2002 by Richard R. Carlton
5.0 out of 5 stars Hi
Hallo I think that this movie is one of the best. with admair
Published on Feb. 14 2001 by "doctornana7"
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Gibson's best!
This is one of Mel Gibson's best movies. It is a movie about an extremely hard-working man who will work at anything he can to save his land. Read more
Published on June 18 2000 by Barbara Farr Kelley
4.0 out of 5 stars a populist statement
The movie is very good, not excellent. Spacek and Gibson are both lovable, in different ways of course. Historically the movie is kind of flimsy. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2000 by Fred Sommer
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