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September 29, 1994 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-29

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6 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, September 29, 1994

RIVER
Continued from Page 3
throw him. Norman (Craig Sheffer) is the older, more responsible and serious
brother. Good-natured and intense, he is as eager to achieve as to take part in the
effortless fun and chance of his wilder little brother.
Guarding and prophesying over the boys is the good Reverend MacClean
(Tom Skerritt). Although stalwart and full of notable quotables, his true passion
lies in the river. He is a fly-fisherman by nature, a reverend by profession and a
father by chance. Yet, he devotes a worldly wisdom and a genuine interest to the
developmentofall three. Broad and encompassing as water, the film flows from
essence to essence, absorbing each struggle and resignation before depositing it
back into the river's endless cycle.
Spunky and enchanted as the pixie he resembles, Brad Pitt's Paul gives the
film it's most bite. His mis-adventures serve as a constant source of strife
within his family. Pitt manages to retain just enough charm and longing to keep
the energy in check, revealing some of the disappointment lurking below.
Yet, the film's core is meant to be Norman. Sheffer, best known for his
work in the teen flick "That Was Then, This Is Now" (1985), and the horror
schlock "Fire In The Sky" (1992), gives a thoughtful, if overly-calculated
performance. While his relationship with Jessie, a local girl, played by the
exquisite Emily Lloyd ("Cookie," "In Country") is vaguely interesting, itpales

in comparison to anything that happens to his brother. Whether this can be
attributed to the nature of the story or the casting is unclear. Whatever the case,
in choosing such a relative unknown, Redford took quite a chance. While not
always successful, it certainly makes for an interesting change of pace. Sheffer
is infinitely more subtle than the majority of young actors working today.
Subtlety is also a nuance of the film. Breezy and laid-back, its gentle,
roaming charm may elude the more impatient or sleepy viewer. The film also
slips into occasional bouts of extreme self-consciousness. Sporadically chided

for presuming to be America's golden boy, Redford does provide the film with
something of a forced self-awareness that can detract from the story's
underlying modesty.
Yet, this is not enough to reduce the overall impact. In this, his third film as
director, Redford has succeeded in creating a near stunning cinematic and
distinctly American landscape, both in theextraordinary cinematography and the
glistening, narcotic narrative.
One can only wonder what "Quiz Show" may bring.

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"A River Runs Through It" director Robert Redford is seen here pleading a case in Ivan Reitman's "Legal Eagles."

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