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River starts with John Lake (Rossif Sutherland), a volunteer doctor in Laos, disobeying a senior surgeon during a surgery where the patient ends up dying. Afterwards, the senior surgery tells John that he needs to take a couple days off. John decides to clear his head by going to a remote island in the south of Laos and spend some time on the beach, drinking beers and regrouping his thoughts. One night at a bar, he seems some tourists buying drinks for some local women until they are more than a little drunk. Shortly after they head in the direction of home, John leaves the bar too and he sees them on the side of the road, the woman obviously raped. When John attacks the tourist he takes things a little too far and kills the man. Now on the run for murder and suspected rape, John just wants to get out of Laos and back to the US.
Director Jamie Dagg does a good job here of telling a story about a character who tries over and over to be a good man but who inevitably goes too far and hurts people. How far is too far? This is a classic tale of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” but it isn’t beating you over the head with the idea. It’s told really well and shows that Dagg is a director to watch.
John’s character is a little too altruistic, which leads me to question some of his choices but Rossif Sutherland is definitely talented and really portrays the fear and panic that John is going through. There are so many choices that go awry in this movie, so many good intentions. We really want John to escape; we want him to be able to get back home; we don’t want him to end up in prison because we know who he is. That being said, just because the man was a rapist, does that mean that he deserved to be killed? It’s these kinds of questions that will have you discussing this movie long after the credits roll.
Overall, this gritty thriller is a great ride. With a powerful performance from Sutherland and some strong direction from Dagg, this movie asks a lot of tough questions and is sur
Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Writer: Jamie M. Dagg
Stars: Rossif Sutherland, Douangmany Soliphanh, Sara Botsford