River Red

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime, Drama

A grim but powerful tale of murder and accountability in the muddy backwoods of rural New Hampshire. Late one autumn night, Dave Holden (Tom Everett Scott) quietly slips out of bed and stabs his sleeping father (Denis O'Hare) to death with a screwdriver. It's a hideous crime that's not entirely unjustified: For years, Dad has treated Dave's younger brother...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A grim but powerful tale of murder and accountability in the muddy backwoods of rural New Hampshire. Late one autumn night, Dave Holden (Tom Everett Scott) quietly slips out of bed and stabs his sleeping father (Denis O'Hare) to death with a screwdriver. It's a

hideous crime that's not entirely unjustified: For years, Dad has treated Dave's younger brother Tom (David Moscow) as more of a punching-bag than a son, focusing all his sadistic rage on Tom while never laying a finger on Dave. "I did it for you," Dave tells his brother, covered in their father's

blood, and Tom once again becomes the fall-guy: He puts on his brother's bloody clothes while Dave calls the police. Tom is sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention center while Dave is left alone to brood over his father's violent legacy and suffer his own kind of punishment, as he

discovers that he really hasn't escaped anything after all. Writer-director Eric Drilling first conceived the story as a one-act play, but soon saw the potential in a much longer treatment. While the film could use a bit of tightening -- there are a few too many shots of Dave staring out across a

desolate lake -- Drilling is right to take his time with the material. The film is a dark tangle of complex emotions, and he explores the lengths and limits of sibling loyalty with an unusual degree of sensitivity. Shot by Steven Schlueter, who also served as producer, the film has the look and

feel of sad lives seen through a dirty windshield -- a raw authenticity that sustains the downbeat tone and throws the fine performances of Scott, Moscow and Cara Buono (who plays Dave's understanding girlfriend Rachel) into high relief.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A grim but powerful tale of murder and accountability in the muddy backwoods of rural New Hampshire. Late one autumn night, Dave Holden (Tom Everett Scott) quietly slips out of bed and stabs his sleeping father (Denis O'Hare) to death with a screwdriver. I… (more)

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