Review

  • This work relates, speaking in broad terms, a narrative (based upon a true story) of a group of executives that is pressured into taking part in a whitewater raft trip, during which an unfortunate incident occurs. A subsequent lawsuit which addresses the incident completes a good portion of the film. The entire production wants nothing, as all involved perform at a high level. The scenario, by Michael Butler, is stripped neatly to its essence, and immediately engages the viewer with its combination of visceral excitement, suspense, and character development. The direction by the veteran Robert Butler is precise and enhanced by the splendidly balanced casting. Alan Alda gives his finest performance, softly creating a characterization which fascinates as it develops. Among other cast members, Peter Gallagher, Bruce Altman, and Robert Loggia offered nary a flaw in this seamless tale. The scenes immediately leading to, and including, the actual raft trip are enthralling as a test of strength between Alda's character and his companions, a test that reveals varying moral sensibilities. Editing, in a film reflecting issues of larger scope than are commonly seen, provides an important framework; here, a linear structure is created and moves smartly. The cinematography and lighting, under the aegis of Lloyd Ahern II, can be enthusiastically endorsed (with a wide range of scena) as a standard to be envied. The score by Pray For Rain, refreshingly non-DJ, implies applicable emotion neatly and nicely throughout this interesting and beautifully balanced motion picture. An obviously high level of preparation by all involved brings forth one of the finest films of the 90s.