The River Within Reviews
The River Within has a very relatable story of a young man who has graduated Law School moves home to his small town for the summer to study for his upcoming bar examination. He reconnects with old friends. When he encounters David, played by Craig Morris, a local small church minister, his life changes forever! He accepts a part time job as youth director for this small church. Davie reconnects with Paul, played by Craig Luttrell, a should have been actor who have returned from LA and Layla, played by Jaclyn Friedlaner, an old friend. Layla just happens to have had a childhood crush on Jason and it reignites with them reconnecting. This sends her engagement plans into a frenzy. David, as the youth minister, gets to know students personally and learns of their personal struggles. During this time, Jason discovers he has a passion that he didn‚(TM)t know existed within him.
As Jason says in this movie,‚? I believe that God is always at work in the world around us.‚?The River Within explores the idea that each of our lives has a purpose! The story is an uplifting story of struggle and triumph.
The movie was was filmed in Northeast Arkansas in the summer of 2008. You will be able to see true natural beauty and historical building while this touching story is acted out.
I would highly recommend this movie to everyone!!
The message challenges the church to be more transparent and attentive to those within their sphere of influence (which I found to be very relevant), and it is delivered in such a way that both convicts and uplifts the viewer.
Definitely worth the watch- especially if you are looking for something that is family friendly.
The most admirable thing about "The River Within" is that, unlike most films of its kind, "TRW" truly captures the essence of a small town and the lives of the people in it. Being from Small Town, USA, myself and others become really critical of how films portray the people and locale, and "TRW" does a fine job of that. It's realistic and unbiased in its portrayal of the lives of these people.
The characters, most especially Paul and David, are solid. While watching the film, it's easiest to connect with these two and their different problems.That's another thing that's admirable about "TRW;" the problems are relatable to most everyone, whether you grew up in a rural, urban, or suburban community. Everyone knows someone who's dealt with the loss of a family member, or an unplanned pregnancy, or an oppressive parent, or small-town or church politics getting in the way, or regretting never following their dreams.
David, the church pastor, is a good man, but he's not infallible. He's real, he has complications, and he's blind to them. I'm sure plenty of actual church pastors are much like him and find themselves in those situations sometimes. The actor, Craig Morris, fills the David role perfectly. The other truly great character, Paul, has is own set of issues that are revealed in time, and the way actor Craig Luttrell hints at the problems before they finally surface is very good. This is better noticed on a second viewing. Genre limitations aren't as prevalent in "TRW," and I think that's what makes these characters better than their counterparts.
The film is beautifully directed by first-time-director, Zac Heath, and nearly all of the acting is spot on. It has its shortcomings here and there, but for the small budget and genre limitations, the film is among the best of its kind. It brings to mind tiny films like "Paranormal Activity," "El Mariachi," and "The Blair Witch Project." Not that "The River Within" is like any of those films subjectively, it's just that they all have that really-good-for-the-budget feel, and they're landmarks in their genres. "TRW" feels like it could be the beginning of a genre transformation.
Overall, the film has a great story, events, and characters. It's nice to see a tiny film be so engrossing and effective.