Jamie M. Dagg's River is a quality addition to Canadian cinema, and it's an absolute must see...
River tells the story of Dr. John Lake and his adventure and struggle for freedom. When working as a volunteer doctor in Laos, John intervenes in the sexual assault of a local woman. Things escalate quickly when confronting the drunk tourist committing the crime, and John finds himself wanted by local authorities for murder. When the American Embassy in Laos is unable to provide help, John has no choice but to go on the run.
Rossif Sutherland gives an excellent performance as Dr. John Lake. John is the character audiences most easily connect and relate to, and Sutherland's performance makes you sympathize with him, despite his flaws. Sutherland was effective at communicating deep emotion without dialogue, and you felt that emotion right along with his character. One audience member commented during the Q&A that they felt exhausted and dehydrated when John was.
River is written and directed by Jamie M. Dagg. With the quality of writing and directing, you would never have guessed this was Dagg's first feature. The film delves deeply into issues of morality and the human ability for violence contained in every person. It is an interesting look at how things can spiral out of control when someone tries to do the right thing. Dagg was awarded Best First Feature by the Canadian Screen Awards for River. River also earned Best Canadian Feature, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at the Whistler Film Festival.
River is a thrilling, suspenseful tale and an excellent piece of Canadian cinema. Great emotional acting from Rossif Sutherland, which has earned him a pending Best Actor nomination from the Canadian Screen Awards. In this era of cinematic universes and adapted scripts, River is a highly original story told very well. The film opens Friday (March 11) with a limited release, if you can find a screening this is definitely a picture to watch.