River's Edge (1986)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama, Coming-of-Age, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - May 8, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brendon Hanley

Tim Hunter's 1987 The River's Edge arrived a few years after the disaffected teen pictures of the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as Foxes, The Outsiders, and the Hunter-scripted Over the Edge. These films were cautionary tales inspired by the proliferation of drugs, sex, and parental negligence, and their tone was reminiscent of the restless-youth pictures of the 1950s. River's Edge, on the other hand, captured the dead-end world and incidental amorality of its teen characters with a distant, cerebral eye. Quietly artsy, the movie's unsensational commentary is guided along by ironic, scene-stealing performances from Dennis Hopper and Crispin Glover. Seldom has Hopper's crazed rebellion been exploited to better effect. Even his reclusive drug dealer can't fathom the amorality of the kids who surround him. As the leader of the teens, Glover isn't conventionally menacing. He's more of a personification of the "This Is Your Brain on Drugs" commercial, with an oddly sweet side to him. His warped, eerie performance is miles away from anything seen in typical estranged-youth movies.