I just saw this movie for the second time. I first saw it back in themid-90's as a Vanguard Video selection. It has retained itpower.It is interesting from several aspects. One is that it is based on a truestory. Two is it is a launching pad for two interesting actors: KeanuReeves and Crispin Glover. And three, it has Dennis Hopper in one of hisbetter social misfit/psychotic character roles.The movie is also a study in the way people act in different settings. Youhave characters in one-on-one, family, peer group, school, general societysettings, etc. The story does well in demonstrating how a person will actin each setting.I wish I could find the details of the actual murder to compare to themovie. I saw a short bit that indicated it occurred in California and thatseveral schoolmates were taken to view the corpse. This is a good choice for a rainy night video rental. Be prepared to feelunsettled at the end.
Tim Hunter made a masterful film in River's Edge, one of the most seriousand thoughtful dramatic studies of teenage life I have ever seen. So manyelements of the film have a cult following (chief among them theperformances of Crispin Glover as Layne and Dennis Hopper as Feck) that Iwill comment on my own personal favorite moment: the harrowing sex scenebetween Matt (Keanu Reeves) and Clarissa (Ione Skye). Entwined in sleepingbags with a six pack while police search for their good friend, the two tryto find respite while the overwhelming events of the day coil into a vacuumof solitude and silence experienced by children who have sex without knowingeach other or themselves. Some will argue that Hunter is heavy-handed withthe close association of sex and death, but to see Matt writhe helplesslyunder Clarissa while elsewhere John (Daniel Roebuck) describes to Feck whatit was like to strangle his girlfriend always sends chills up and down myspine.
Less Than Zero could have been the 80s movie that reveals teenageapathy in its most extreme form had they actually stuck to the damnbook. But, where they hadn't, this movie presents does the job, andleaves you with the creepiest feeling when its all over in ways notdone until the late nineties with Larry Clark's movies 'Kids' and'Bully.' Societal outcast teens are faced with a rather curious dilemma (theydon't treat it much like one) when their estranged friend (DanielRoebuck) boasts to them that he killed a teenage girl near the river'sedge in their suburban town. Keanu Reeves may be the only civilizedcharacter among the bunch, the only one willing to exhibit any sort ofconscience, anyway, while the others either don't do anything about thegirl's death or want to help their friend hide the body. I don't know who is more sick in this film--Crispin Glover--who becomesnearly obsessed and quite paternal in trying to protect the friend andhide the crime by smuggling him out of the state. Dennis Hopper, anon-edge drug dealer (who clings to a female blowup doll) that befriendsthe teens (as a dealer, of course) and suddenly becomes involved in theevents. Or, Josh Miller, who plays Reeve's little brother, Tim. Heappears to be the most apathetic of them all, at least until hisemotional breakdown at the end. It is definitely not peppy 80s teenfare, obviously. And certainly makes the point strikingly clear aboutthe serious detachment these kids deal with (despite a bizarre seriesof events) thanks to many great performances all around (even Reevesproved some acting capability).Help yourself to a comedy to recover if it rocks you too hard.
I can remember a college professor commenting as to how disturbing thisfilm was, reflecting the apathy of adolescents (this was beforeGeneration "X").In a way, most of us are products of the same consumer culture; thesehigh school kids spend their time drinking, getting high and wonderingwhat to do about the body left on a riverbank.What would they do today? Would things be different?. Some veryimportant questions. There are some excellent scenes with Keanu Reeves,and the dysfunctional family he lives with; his 11 year old brothergoing out to get wasted; the mother has no idea what to do- spends hertime drinking with her boyfriend.This film was a bit before its time in that it addresses the problemsin lower class American society; these kids had no outlet; what isavailable for them in this dirt-water town? . All in all a fewinteresting social commentaries are presented, and there are nosolutions. 9/10.
This film is one of the best of 1986 with creepy, yet intriguingperformances from Crispin Glover and Dennis Hopper! The Reagan years werepretty bleak for a lot of people, not just teenagers, but this flick reallycaptured the desperation and despair. Well-directed with great script(apparently based on a true story), I don't really see any weaknesses inthis. The opening shot was brilliant.Keanu Reeves was decent for a change and Miss Skye was right on the money. Hopper had three other great performances that same year (Blue Velvet, TexasChainsaw II, and Hoosiers). I imagine this has a cult following and Iwonder how this picture would fare if it was re-released. Superstuff!