River Runs Through It" on DVD
Family Ties that
DVD of Robert Redford's acclaimed 1992 movie doesn't offer a lot of the
extras one comes to appreciate with the digital disc format, but it's
a warm and charming movie nonetheless that features wonderful performances
from a journeyman cast.
The story is set in
pre-1930's Montana and is gloriously shot on location in the foothills
of the Rocky Mountains about three hours' drive south from where this
review is being written. This setting, which is duplicated about half
an hour West of TechnoFILE's headquarters, seriously prejudices our impartiality
(assuming that we have any to begin with!) and we feel obliged to state
so up front - since these magnificent locations are one of the reasons
we chose to set up shop here.
So we're suckers for
the landscape and feel obliged to prattle on about how the movie looks
simply marvelous, and how Elmer Bernstein's Oscar-nominated score, Redford's
framing of shots and DOP Philippe Rousselot's cinematography enhance the
Anyway, Craig Sheffer
and Brad Pitt star as brothers Norman and Paul Maclean, sons of a Presbyterian
minister (Tom Skerritt, in a great characterization), whom the movie follows
from a very young age to "courtin' age."
besides preaching, is fly fishing - an appetite he passes on to his sons.
The peaceful and gracefully reflective solitude of fishing is central
to the movie, and in fact is one of the reasons Paul (Pitt) chooses never
to leave Montana, even after his brother suggests he accompany him to
Chicago to pursue his journalism career there.
This isn't a movie
that will appeal to action fans, but it will tug at the hearts of romantics
(whether of the "boy/girl" type or of the "old fashioned
movie" type) everywhere. Redford, and screenwriter Richard Friedenberg
(working from Norman Maclean's own story) has done a nice job of crafting
characters for whom we can feel affection despite their all-too-human
It's a more innocent
time and, in many ways, a more honest time - an age in which people weren't
obsessed with self delusion and self gratification - and where many strove
toward a higher purpose. Director Redford has captured the era wonderfully
in "A River Runs Through It," and for that he should be applauded.
Not as worthy of applause
is his politically correct rant in the closing credits, wherein he exhorts
viewers not to fish unless they're going to "catch and release"
in the manner of modern, enlightened fishermen (or, in 1990's parlance,
"fishers"). He's referring to, we must assume, people who release
their catch back into the wild and then sally forth to Safeway or Von's
to buy their fish dinners, smugly happy in the knowledge that they've
done well by Person Nature - blissfully unaware (or uncaring) of their
hypocrisy in getting other people to do their dirty work for them..
But we digress. Hey,
we can rant, too, especially in the interest of equal time for opposing
views (whether we happen to agree with them or not).
Despite that bit of
irrelevant and politically correct pap (which, to be fair, Redford does
admit in the beginning of the rant wasn't in the minds of those in the
time of "A River Runs Through It"), it's a good film overall.
The DVD is offered
in both widescreen and Pan&Scan, on opposite sides. Picture quality
is very good, though not as good as some DVD's we've reviewed (it's a
bit soft). Audio is Dolby Pro Logic Surround and, though there isn't a
lot of surround, the audio quality itself is fine. The only extras include
a good liner essay, minimal talent files, theatrical trailers (this film
and other Brad Pitt films), chapter stops, and the usual language/subtitle
A River Runs Through
It, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
124 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1)/Pan&Scan, Dolby Pro Logic Surround
Starring Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn and Emily
Produced by Robert Redford and Patrick Markey, Screenplay by Richard Friedenberg
Directed by Robert Redford
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think