The River (He liu) (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

The River (He liu) (1997)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Xiao-Kang, a young man who lives a dismal life with his parents in their small Taipei apartment, develops a terrible pain in his neck which no doctor, nor cure can seem to relieve. His mother is having an affair with a man who pirates pornographic videotapes, while his father is pursuing a solitary quest for pleasure in the city's gay bathhouses. Somehow, Xiao-Kang's pain seems to reflect the problems of each of his parents, and the solutions to each seem connected also, in a way that is not rationally explicable.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 4, 2003


Kang-sheng Lee
as Lee Xiao-Kang
Tien Miao
as Father
Chen Chao-jung
as Young Man At Sauna
Shiang-chyi Chen
as Xiao-Kang's Girlfrie...
Lu Chiao-Lin
as Mother's Lover
Ann Huei
as Film Director
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The River (He liu)

Critic Reviews for The River (He liu)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (6)

The River is difficult and unpleasant at times, but as a somber metaphor for contaminated lives, it's masterful.

August 6, 2002
AV Club
Top Critic

Tsai is so adept at pacing and mood, and so good at capturing a sense of yearning, that his film draws us in despite its unusually long takes and sparse cutting.

Full Review… | October 28, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Full Review… | December 22, 2005
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

December 22, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | July 16, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The River (He liu)

some don't like tsai's pacing but i have found him mesmerizing and this is certainly no exception. and while many considered it bleak, i saw it more as a black comedy. i'm watching tsai's films in order which isn't strictly necessary i guess but i do believe there is an overarching narrative and this is an important piece of the puzzle. to be continued...

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

A very hard film to watch while at the same time riveting, here is a somber look at the modern family, where no one shares the same interests, everyone lives separate lives except for the occasional meal or two. The roof is leaking and getting worse and no one knows why ... a disturbing work, and for adults only.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Ming-liang Tsai describes father-and-son relationship in a very original and bold way. It's surely sensational but very sincere and able to sympathize at the same time. Incredible lighting throughout the film.

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