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River of Grass1994

  • 3.7
Kelly Reichardt's darkly funny debut feature, RIVER OF GRASS brought the writer/director back to the setting of her adolescence, the suburban landscape of southern Florida, where she grew up with her detective father and narcotics agent mother. Shot on 16mm, the story follows the misadventures of disaffected house-wife "Cozy," played by Lisa Bowman, and the aimless layabout "Lee," played by up and comer Larry Fessenden, who also acted as a producer and the film's editor. Described by Reichardt as "a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime," RIVER OF GRASS introduces viewers to a director already in command of her craft and defining her signature style.

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"...operates in its own ecosystem, teeming with the droll, shrewd observations about downwardly mobile life explored more solemnly in Reichardt's next two films, OLD JOY and WENDY AND LUCY." - Melissa Anderson, Village Voice


2 members like this review

About two-thirds through this film the saying, "Wherever you go, there you are," came to mind. It certainly applies to some of the characters, but also to the plot. As often as Cozy and Lee attempt to leave their pasts behind, they are turned back, most often as a result of their own choices. These are not complex characters, but they are driven by complex emotions.

There are a few bad actors in minor roles and some clunky moments, but I was engrossed. A hopelessness, or perhaps resignation, that I would suspect many of us feel at times, consumes Cozy. With nothing to lose, there is everything to gain. But it seems, at least in the beginning, she isn't ambitious enough to make much of an effort.

The ending leaves questions unanswered, but that is in keeping with the rest of the film. It reminds me slightly of A Serious Man by the Coen brothers, although that movie, in my opinion, rates five stars.

Member Reviews (9)

About two-thirds through this film the saying, "Wherever you go, there you are," came to mind. It certainly applies to some of the characters, but also to the plot. As often as Cozy and Lee attempt to leave their pasts behind, they are turned back, most often as a result of their own choices. These are not complex characters, but they are driven by complex emotions.

There are a few bad actors in minor roles and some clunky moments, but I was engrossed. A hopelessness, or perhaps resignation, that I would suspect many of us feel at times, consumes Cozy. With nothing to lose, there is everything to gain. But it seems, at least in the beginning, she isn't ambitious enough to make much of an effort.

The ending leaves questions unanswered, but that is in keeping with the rest of the film. It reminds me slightly of A Serious Man by the Coen brothers, although that movie, in my opinion, rates five stars.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

Like a modern Florida trailer trash retelling of Pierrot le fou... Excellent film.

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top reviewer

too dumb for me i quit

As far as I am aware this was her debut feature, and wow, what a way to do it! I was hooked on the listing drama and lyrical sequences fo this horrible place in Florida.

I liked this film. I was a road trip movie with a bit of a twist. Lots of fun and great to see the female protagonist. A good film to see on a cold Saturday night when no one wants to go out while having some pop corn.

Interesting story about two misfits in heartland America, a promising debut by Kelly Reichardt who was to turn into one of the very hottest properties of US cinema. Energy falters at times, and the middle of the film sags some, but you can definitely tell that the director is someone who is going to make a mark.

Its got a "disconnected to society/lost soul" type of vibe, which I dig. The older style is also a fresh feel. I've had that gut feeling of just getting in my car and driving off to wherever the road leads me and just living life on a roll of a dice and just travel as much as possible for a couple years now, and films like this just encourage it even more lol. Overall it was good and enjoyable. :)

I'll watch it again.

Felt more like an homage to 70's films, specifically Malick's Badlands. I also didn't really find this all that funny. I guess at least one aspect can be called "darkly comic" but for the most part, the film didn't didn't feel like a dark comedy.

it's not so much as an homage but more of a subversion of the "lovers on the run" genre of which badlands is part of