White River (1999)


While traveling across Arkansas, two shady characters (Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and Antonio Banderas, Evita) are held hostage by a legendary serial killer (Wes Bentley, American Beauty), who has an agenda of his own.

Reaction & Thoughts:

This is a disjointed, senseless film. White River’s biggest problem resides in its inability to find the proper balance between comedy and serious drama — the film’s strange combination of violence and whimsical humor feels awkward and forced.

The only interesting thing that can be said about this mess of a film is that it will certainly enter history books as the first rom-com about a serial killer!

Directed by Arne Glimcher (The Mambo Kings) and written by John Fergus Ryan and David Leland, White River doesn’t have a cohesive, logical storyline, and the characters’ actions lack any kind of real motivation. How anyone could have green-lighted this project is beyond me, especially considering how many aspiring screenwriters are out-there hoping for an opportunity.

Bob Hoskins is hammier than a piece of salami, and Antonio Banderas’s Mexican con man is something hard to describe — neither actor can overcome an unfunny script. The beautiful and talented Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love and This Boy’s Life), who plays a blind prostitute, seems to be acting in a different film altogether.

Wes Bentley gets the “Ben Affleck Award” for giving the blandest, dullest performance of the entire film, and American country music singer Randy Travis… well, his singing is great. The cast also includes Swoosie Kurtz (Against All Odds) and Beau Bridges (Norma Rae). Roger Clinton, half-brother of President Bill Clinton, has a small role.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

White River is one of those films that seems to have been conceived during a moment of desperation. From the opening silly monologue (written by director Glimcher minutes before the beginning of the shooting!) to the strange and meaningless ending, this is a movie that has no redeeming qualities. Color, 99 minutes, Rated R.

2 responses to “White River (1999)

  1. Well, Ellen Barkin seems like someone who’s never been afraid of failure through offbeat — and otherwise off — characters. Not that that has anything to do with the value of the film.

    Liked by 1 person

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