Turn the River (2008)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Kailey has lost almost everything. Separated from her husband, who's had a crisis of faith, and unable to see her son, who is being abused without her there to protect him, Kailey makes a desperate living as a pool and poker hustler, aided by an old pool hall manager who helps her both to run her illegal game and to pass letters back and forth to her son. With a big score on the horizon, Kailey could finally have the money she needs to escape with her son and start a new life, but if her tenuous … More

Rating: R (for language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Chris Eigeman, Christopher Eigeman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 22, 2008
Screen Media - Official Site


as Kailey Sullivan

as Teddy Quinette

as Markus

as David

as Gulley

as Charlotte

as Ralphie

as Abby
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Critic Reviews for Turn the River

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (13)

Janssen, who reportedly did her own pool shooting, is [best] served in the scenes with Gulley, which are wrenching in a coolly understated way.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

A well-acted, if not terribly well-crafted, character-driven drama without much in the way of a purpose.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Turn the River is a finely observed portrait of a desperate working-class woman who refuses to play by ordinary rules.

May 9, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Turn the River lacks almost everything Eigeman has as a performer: charisma, wit and snappy delivery.

Full Review… | May 9, 2008
New York Post
Top Critic

It's not sharp or ironic, but drab and downbeat. Unfortunately, it's also going to feel utterly familiar to those who've seen their share of independent dramas in the last 15 years.

Full Review… | May 9, 2008
New York Daily News
Top Critic

A small-scale but thoroughly engrossing drama full of strong performances and sharp dialogue.

Full Review… | May 9, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Turn the River


In "Turn the River," Kailey Sullivan(Famke Janssen, doing a fine Sandra Bullock impression) is a pool player who has been forbidden from seeing her 10-year old son Gulley(Jaymie Dornan) since he was born. However, that does not stop her from contacting him via a dead letter drop at a pool hall or meeting him in Central Park when she is in New York City. Lately, she has noticed Gulley's broken arm, ascribing this to his father(Matt Ross) and hatches a plot to run away with her son.

The poorly directed "Turn the River" wastes a good cast in a failed attempt to capture the atmosphere of smoke-filled pool halls by going for a melodramatic premise that ends on a false note. I know that Gulley's father is quite possibly abusive but Kailey is not the solution, even though the movie tries in vain to make her sympathetic.(Since when do criminal lowlifes do anything without getting paid beforehand?) Even if she had come up with a way that is not half-baked to get her son, her parenting skills leave something to be desired since she is pure impulse, uncontrollably twitching when a game is not imminent.(Gulley probably finds her coolness and lack of responsibility refreshing.) And even with a full explanation at the end, I still do not exactly buy the story as to how Kailey and Gulley met.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Turn The River is a stupid story, that is poorly directed, and just plain boring. Kailey is a professional gambler who not only lost custody of her son when she got divorced, but also lost the right to even see him. She is convinced that he ex-husband is abusing her twelve year old son, the way he abused her, and she's determined to do the only thing she can about. Kailey goes on a quest to win as much money as she can, so she can get her son and take him away to a better place. First of all, we have no idea why Kailey can't see her son and we so no evidence of abuse by her ex-husband. Gambling, also infers random games of chance, but not with Kailey, honestly it's just ridiculous. The film stars X-men beauty Famke Janssen, who is quite good looking, but unfortunately very dry as an actress. Her son, Law & Orders Jamyie Dornan, is a bit more entertaining, but the role is so badly written, that no one could have made it work. A lot of things are alleged and assumed in this movie, but we aren't shown any of it. It's impossible to separate fact from bull shit, in this incredibly slow dud of a movie. The script is terrible, the acting is bland, and the direction is sloppy. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, try watching this!

Todd Smith

Super Reviewer

Famke Janssen shines in this film!!! One of her best performances. The film reminded me of the film Trucker. Nice ensemble. I definitely recommend this film, especially cause of Famke's performance.

Sol C

Super Reviewer

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