Its 1:24 am
Last week I stopped by my video store to see if anything new had gone on sale…Erich,the new manager had told me that his store was expecting a shipment of 200 used films after a store had closed in Canada. He was still sorting them out and suggested I come back during the weekend,they were having a sale and by then he would have the new 200 movies on the shelves. It made sense to me and so today was my day to drop by.
True to his word,the shelves looked a LOT better then just 10 days ago when there were large gaps on those sames shelves. The famed “5 for $5.00″ sale was also happening and that is how I found the film we’re talking about today,”The River Murders”. Was it worth my dollar??
The film opens up with a montage of a river,cluttered water and then water with drops of blood it as the film’s titles are played over the montage. As the camera pans to the shoreline,we see a dead nude woman and our story begins.
Detective Jack Verdon (Ray Liotta) is a happy man….he loves his job and he is married to an amazing woman named Ana (Gisele Fraga). But his world is turned upside down when the woman we saw earlier turns out to have ties to Jack.
Because of this and the fact Jack also knows of the crime scene,Captain Langley (Ving Rhames) has to suspend him. Jack’s partner Jenny (Sarah Ann Schultz) believes Jack is innocent and is determined to help. But when several other women whom Jack been intimate with start showing up beaten and dumped in the nearby river,not only does Jack become the main suspect,the case also attracts the FBI’s attention as they send out Special Agent Vuckovitch (Christian Slater) to find the killer.
Jack knows he is innocent despite the evidence and sets out to solve the case and clear not only his name but to save his marriage,never suspecting the killer is much closer then he could have imagine.
“The River Murders” was worth the dollar I spent on it but that is faint praise. Despite having a great cast,this film is slow and just plods along. Any tension or mystery that it could have had is ruined in the first 10 minutes when we are shown the killer. Early reveals of your main bad guy may work on “Columbo”but in a film like “The River Murders”,its a bad mistake. Which is a shame too because Michael Rodrickmade for a chilling killer and and saving the reveal for the last act would have amped the mystery up quite a bit.
I did enjoy watching Liotta and Slater have a couple of key scenes together but keeping Slater in a conference room and not letting his Vuckovitch out in the field is another waste of talent. Rhames is his usual solid self as Langley but he also isn’t given much to do. Liotta gives a earnest performance as Jack,I liked the fact he allowed himself to show that Verdon wasn’t a “supercop” and was clearly shaken by the series of murders of women he once knew.
Screenwriter Steve Anderson’s story needed more action and a better use of his characters and director Rich Cowan needed to quicken the pace to keep the story moving along quicker instead of killing whatever suspense by putting Jack into yet another dialogue heavy scene that wasn’t needed.
“The River Murders” looks lovely as it was it shot in Spokane,Washington and included a lot of outdoor shots that helps showing that even a peaceful little city can hide monsters.
“The River Murders” is rated “R” and has a run time of 92 minutes. Special features include two commentaries….a Director’s commentary and a cast commentary.
The cheetah and I really wanted to like this one but can only recommend it if you can find it for a dollar.
What is your favorite Liotta,Rhames and Slater performance? Drop a comment below and share it with us!