The River is a short film clocking in at just over 11 minutes and dealing with a young boy’s reaction to the death of his brother. He insists he hears trumpet music coming from a strange boat moored in the river. And since his brother played the trumpet he feels there must be a connection.
Writer/director James Quinn describes it as “Pan’s Labyrinth meets Ordinary People- An eerie contemporary rites of passage fantasy set against the backdrop of a grieving, broken family.” And while I see a lot of Ordinary People in it, there’s not so much of Pan’s Labyrinth that I can see. That’s not to put it down, it is a good film, I’m just missing something it seems.
The film has a strong emotional core and content grounded in real life events and feelings that we all can relate to to some degree. The way he uses the boat with it’s mysterious occupant/cargo to support his denial of his brother’s death and his determination to get to the boat put him in conflict with his grieving parents who understandable don’t want to lose a second child.
The film has an appropriately dark and gloomy look to it. Cold and rainy weather that matches the character’s feelings. It’s anything but a cheerful film in style or substance, but it is a compelling one.
The acting is all quite good, it’s a three character piece and they all hold their own, which is needed in a film like this.
The River is out on the festival circuit and has taken some awards in it’s travels. It’s worth seeing if it plays near you or finds it’s way to streaming, and hopefully we’ll see more from Mr Quinn in the future.