River's Edge

Critics Consensus

A harrowing tale of aimless youth, River's Edge generates considerable tension and urgency thanks to strong performances from a stellar cast that includes Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, and Ione Skye.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 38

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,118

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Movie Info

Teenage burnout Samson (Daniel Roebuck) has murdered his girlfriend and left her naked body lying on the bank of a river just outside their small California town. He not only doesn't run away, he brings his friends to gawk at her dead body. Speed freak Layne (Crispin Glover) tries to force the teens' silence to protect their friend, but conscience is gnawing at the others -- particularly Matt (Keanu Reeves) and Clarissa (Ione Skye Leitch), who want to go to the police.

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News & Interviews for River's Edge

Critic Reviews for River's Edge

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for River's Edge

  • Apr 03, 2015
    A solid example of the "Fucked Up Coming of Age" genre I adore so. But some of its social commentary is over the top, and it lacks a single cohesive vision to latch on to.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2012
    To me, "River's Edge" is a great film, and even though director Tim Hunter occasionally sidesteps the film's actual message, there are very few things wrong with it. The script balances drama with humor as well as one would expect and each actor shines in his or her role. As for Crispin Glover, few hesitate to call his performance overacting, but I disagree. I think that Layne is a very original character, and Glover's portrayal works. He, like so many others, is the reason why "River's Edge" is so darn enjoyable.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Oct 09, 2011
    A high schooler kills his girlfriend, and his friends have varied reactions, some attempting to help him escape, others apathetic, and others telling the police. I've read the many reviews that describe this film as an exploration of the then-contemporary distance between action and morality and stimulus and morality, but this theme isn't explored; it's shown in the characters' actions then interpreted for us by the one of the adult characters. And how can Crispin Glover's performance be called anything except over-acting at its worse. Glover's characteristic dorky, halting delivery is accentuated to the nth degree, and Layne is so ridiculous that it is unbelievable that even John would hang out with him. What's worse, because Canoehead hasn't an original, creative bone in his body, he picks up Glover's mannerisms, and the scenes between Layne and Matt become so obnoxiously entrenched in a cliched surfer culture that I felt myself get stupider. In the story, there is no suspense or mystery. We know early on who tells the cops, and though it's structured like <i>In Cold Blood</i>, where the gory details of the murder provide the story's climax, by the time the killer's reasons are revealed, I had already lost interest. Overall, there are people who see profundity in <i>River's Edge</i>, but I'm not one of them.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    My absolute favourite teenage drama/thriller of the 80s. It has an excellent cast, a great (and true) story, and it's even got a bit of humor. I highly recommend this movie.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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