The River Why (Blu-ray)

THE RIVER WHY is a coming of age story set on the banks of a river in Oregon.  Augustine, or “just Gus,” (Zach Gilford) lives in the shadows of his famous fisherman father (William Hurt).  He never fit in at school, he’s an outcast in the community and after a huge fight with his parents, he leaves the big city to live in an old run-down cabin to do nothing but fish during the day and make his special lures at night.  By chance, Gus meets spunky, independent Eddy (Amber Heard) fishing with reckless abandon on his banks.  She’s the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen and suddenly, there’s life beyond angling in the world.

Amber Heard and Zach Gilford in The River Why

Because he’s never taken the time to date or even talk to girls, Gus is a complete moron and practically scares her away.  He befriends a local guy named Titus (Dallas Roberts) who teaches him to listen and consider seeing details in different perspectives.  Of course, between casts, Gus eventually crosses paths with Eddy again and his faith in the universe is renewed.

It’s a story of firsts:  death, love, understanding his place in the world and how others weave in and out of our story.  It’s Gus really pondering the question, “Why?” and realizing that there are many answers.

Amber Heard in The River Why

I have to say that I asked the same question several times during the film.  “Why did they make this movie?”  It’s not that it was really bad.  It certainly wasn’t good.  It was mediocre.  It was vanilla.  I didn’t care about Gus’ journey and felt that it took him no time to figure out life’s mysteries after just a few months of fishing.

And oh the fishing!  I am not exaggerating when I say that 50 percent of the movie consisted of Gilford fly fishing with absolutely no dialog.  Yes, that was a big part of the plot…that Gus was “living his dream” by waking up every morning, fishing every day and coming home to eat the trout every night.  But do we really need 45 minutes of just fishing?  Of course the scenery was gorgeous.  Of course I can take only so much.  Of course I became bored.

Zach Gilford in The River Why

I don’t feel that the story utilized Eddy’s character either.  It definitely made things more interesting when she was on screen, but he scares her off when he first meets her and she doesn’t come back until the end.  The only redeeming moments were when Dallas Roberts’ storyline, the German Shepherd who knew how to rock in a rocking chair and the weird neighbors whose six kids had rhyming names.

Amber Heard and Zach Gilford in The River Why

Although some of the scenes in the woods and on the river were breath taking, THE RIVER WHY fell flat in the plot department.  I’m sure if you are an avid angler or fly fisherman, you will probably get way more out of the silent fishing scenes than I did.  If not, I’d say skip the DVD and go out and fish for real on your own.


Video:  1080p High Definition (2.35.1): Again, it was beautifully shot and the scenery is amazing.

Audio:  DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: There’s only so much river audio I can handle.

The River Why

Interviews (38:59): Simply titled “Interviews” this feature showcases insight from the main characters.  It’s long, boring and they all answer the same way the executive producers told them to answer.


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