Dark Blood (1993)
Critic Reviews for Dark Blood
Dark Blood quickly announces itself as pure folly -- a movie that, had it made it to theaters two decades ago, would be long forgotten by now, save for the occasional late-night airing in the basic-cable badlands.
Left unfinished when River Phoenix died of drug-related causes in the middle of shooting, this terrifically played and superbly photographed three-hander reveals to what extent the 23-year-old star was an intense and unpredictable talent.
Phoenix exerts a suitably charismatic and commanding air in his final role, making Boy a complex, fully mature character.
It's fascinating to watch the feature after all these years of rumors and leaked clips, finally able to grasp the last images of River Phoenix before his untimely death. For that alone, Dark Blood is worth a look.
Audience Reviews for Dark Blood
Interesting. Interesting isn't always the best word to describe something but in the case of this movie I believe it is most fitting. Dark Blood was filmed in 1993 and never completed because of the untimely death of its young star, River Phoenix (My Own Private Idaho), and the emotional connections its director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) had with the late star. As Sluizer got sick later in life, he decided that the world should see River's last filmed moments and completed the film with his own voice-over narration of the movie's incomplete scenes. This makes the film feel oddly incomplete but also wholly complete at the same time ... it is rather intriguing as it gives the film a whole new, never-before-felt tone of its own. It is the story of a young widower claiming to be part Hopi (Phoenix) who escapes to the desert to await the End Times but his peaceful existence becomes disrupted by a Hollywood couple whose car breaks down near his abode. The boy takes a liking to the flirty female (Judy Davis - Husbands and Wives) but him and the guy (Jonathan Pryce - Brazil) don't see eye-to-eye. As the boy's sanity seems to waver and unravel, he (somewhat) holds the couple hostage in the desert as he believes she has been brought to him to fulfill some kind of a Hopi destiny. Had the film been released years ago ... it would have been forgotten; but it is now a curious oddity ... that I rather liked. It is a tragic story for more than one reason. Phoenix was a talent ... and it is evident here and his loss was a sad one. Some people aren't necessarily meant to be fully understood ... like Boy/Phoenix himself and we are to appreciate what we get to see and know. Again ... interesting.
What, in my mind, made this story so fascinating was its symbolism. The film, in short, symbolizes the white man's treatment of the Native Americans. This is something I feel some viewers, unfortunately, miss. If you view the film in that context, it becomes much more powerful.
Good acting. Visually appealing. Too bad I can't say the same about the storyline. Farewell River.