MUST WATCH RAFTING ADVENTURE MOVIE THRILLER - THE RIVER WILD(1994) - Review by Kumaran Shanmugam.
Gail an experienced former rafter and guide is living with her son Roarcke, daughter, and husband Tom a busy architect. The couple where going through a marital strife due to Tom's busy lifestyle leaving no time to spend with his wife. Her son Roarcke's birthday was fast approaching.
Gail suggested celebrating their son's birthday by a rafting trip in the Salmon River in Idaho. Tom as usual excuses himself from the trip citing a business meeting. A disgruntled Gail and her children leave for the trip. She entrusts her daughter in the custody of her parents and embarks on the trip along with her son Roarcke.
During the signing of necessary papers at the check post before rafting, they meet two seemingly friendly men by name Wade and Terry. Wade befriends Roarcke and he coaxes Gail to guide them in the river. Initially, reluctant Gail agrees to help them.
The men join the mother-son duo. Tom makes an unexpected entry to the joy of Gail and Roarcke. The entire contingent embarks on the journey in two separate rafts. After rafting throughout the day they retire for the night camping in the river bank. They celebrate the birthday of Roarcke and Wade presents him with a gift.
The next day morning they continue their journey. Wade shows Roarcke his gun which excites him. Gail and Tom become suspicious about the men and plan a strategy to escape in the raft leaving them behind. Their attempt fails and Wade shows his true color by pulling out a gun and assaulting Tom.
The family is in imprisoned by the criminal duo. The next day the family threatened at gunpoint continue the rafting journey. During the night stopover, Tom tries to unarm a sleeping Terry by confiscating his gun and is caught red-handed by Wade.
Tom escapes as Wade shoots. There is a loud splash in the water and Wade thinks that he has killed Tom. A relieved Wade and the rest of the continent continue their journey in the river.
Gail and Roarcke are distraught by the incident and worried about Tom. The criminal duo where actually bank robbers under Run from the police escaping with their booty.
They threatened Gail at gunpoint and ordered her to guide them down a treacherous Rapid in the river which is banned due to many casualties. Gail explains to the men about the perils of the Rapid and was reluctant to help the duo by putting her family at risk. But however unable to sustain her defiance under gunpoint she agreed to guide the crooks. They continued the journey in the rapids. The rafters survive many attempts at their life by the rough and fast flowing rapids.
Tom was following the rafting contingent in a vain attempt to save his family. He succeeds to flip the raft at one juncture. Terry Falls into the Rapid and is nearly drowned. Tom fights with Terry in the water. In the Mayhem Gail manages to confiscate Wades gun. She points at Wade and threatens him.
Wade orders Terry to kill Tom And Roarke. Enraged by his defiance Gail fires a shot and kills Wade point blank. Terry is overpowered by Tom and handed over to the police. The harrowing experience with the criminals and the treacherous rapids healed the differences between Gail and Tom and brought back a spark in the relationship.
Meryl Streep single-handedly propels the film forwards giving an excellent performance in the role of Gail . Kevin Bacon a seasoned actor also plays his part in the villainous role of Wade.
Overall this movie is an excellent edge of the seat thriller.
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