A Busy River
Kurt, Stan, Mikey and Skinner all used to ride the river as guides and they loved it. That was until disaster struck and an accident on the river claimed the life of Buck who they were training. Over a decade later the guys decide to head back to the river with their friends to experience the thrill of the river once again. But not only have these former friends changed over the years as careers and families have lead them on separate paths but they realise that the river is different now that they are older. When they come to the stretch of river which claimed Buck's life all those years ago they along with their families must come together to survive as tragedy strikes again.
It's always interesting to have a look at the opinions of others when you are watching a movie and are wondering what is so special about it as they may open your eyes to something. It is what I did whilst watching "Same River Twice" the 1996 movie by Scott Featherstone as I was wondering what others thought as I wasn't thinking that much of it. And the thing I spotted was those which praised it the highest were from people who enjoyed white water rafting and could appreciate the appeal of riding down the river and camping in front of some spectacular sunsets. Having never done it or felt a desire to ride down a river on a raft that empathy with the characters and the simple pleasure of camping by the water does little for me.
Now there is no denying that writer/director Scott Featherstone has crafted a beautiful movie with many a scene which grabs your attention because of the way he has captured the beauty of nature from those sunsets to the magnificent rocks lining up either side of the river. And Featherstone has certainly delivered a movie with plenty of story as we have the tragedy of the past, the friend whose daughter has muscular dystrophy, the father who always berates his son for not doing things right and much more. Maybe there is a touch too much story especially as it is not easy to find details on what this movie is about and so there is a chance that you can watch this actually not knowing the story. It is in many ways what drags the movie down for me as it isn't so much complex but a lot more narrative heavy than I expected.
Despite that the acting is good and there is the right blend of characters to keep it entertaining. We have uptight fathers and laid back characters which bring a nice amount of humour and conflict with not one actor stealing the limelight but making this a movie which is a collaboration.
What this all boils down to is that "Same River Twice" is a beautiful movie with some nice cinematography and it is certainly not short on narrative. But in some ways that is the movie's problem as it gives us plenty of characters and plenty of individual stories which are not hard to follow but make it busier than it needed to be.