David: Hello everyone! I just want to welcome any new readers we have today. Most of the time we do a random selection of movies from theatres, DVDs, and even some TV shows. To give some background to new readers, Shannon and I started this site to do what we already were doing: have a discussion about movies. We noticed that we had a fun dynamic, where I tended to lapse into long discussions on the merits of lighting, acting, etc., while Shannon tended to give shorter, direct answers when asked her opinion. This site was a fun outlet for that, and we have both grown in the ability to voice our opinions (however different they may be at times).
At DoubleFeaturePreachers, we love all movies and we are trying to reach out to some of the independent filmmakers around the world to give them some exposure. We already tackled Simon Horrock’s Kosmos, and today we are trying on Writer-Director Paul Schattel’s Quiet River. I would like to personally thank Producer Shane Meador for reaching out to me and sharing this film. For those that are interested, here is a link to the trailer: Quiet River Trailer.
With the introductions out of the way, let’s get started. Shannon, do you have anything you want to say to start?
Shannon: Though we have kept busy with the movie watching, I’m always eager to watch the independent films and would definitely love the opportunity to do more in the future. Quiet River tells the story of a woman, separated from her husband, who goes to stay with her brother in the small town where she grew up. Some well poisoning happens, fingers are pointed, and relationships are tested. David, do you have something specific you wanted to discuss about this film?
The second thing I would like to bring up is the acting. Throughout Quiet River I continued to be impressed by the quiet acting style of both Claire (Rebecca Morris aka Rae Becka) and Daniel (Willie Repoley). The movie is heavily dialogue-dependent, and the film wouldn’t have worked at all without strong actors to carry the leads. Becka shines mostly when she isn’t speaking, conveying a variety of emotions through convincing facial acting - despair, loneliness, even desire - all without saying a word.
Repoley’s portrayal of Daniel was something that I tossed over in my mind several times while watching the film. I’ve known a few Aspergers sufferers, and there were moments where I was instantly transported back to my last interactions with them by Repoley’s performance. However, there were times when his constant start-stop method of speaking seemed more akin to a stutterer than one suffering from Autism. I will concede that despite this, we don’t really know enough about Daniel’s character (is he really autistic? Or are we just not on his plane of intelligence?) or Autism in general (we learn more every day) to determine whether this is a legitimate criticism.
Shannon, what did you think of the actors? What did you think of the other characters involved?
Shannon: I think I agree with you about the actors. Becka and Repoley did well at portraying the characters they were casted for, and though there weren’t many actors to follow in this film, I think the supporting actors were able to effectively keep the story line going. This film had a lot of dialogue, as you mentioned, but I felt like at some times it was extremely awkward. Do you think this was how it was supposed to be? I understand the awkwardness that Daniel may have with his sister and others around him, but did it need to be awkward between Claire and Ruby or Claire and Barrett?
David: I think that the awkwardness in some scenes may have been purposeful. We are talking about a woman that is now on her own, and hasn’t been for a while. Now she is trying to learn to navigate a new world as a single person. Along with this, she is interacting with people she hasn’t seen in years, which almost always increases the awkwardness, especially when you consider the police involvement and the mystery of the well poisoning.
In the same breath, I will say that at times this awkwardness is a bit too much. It makes the film drag at times, because very few of the interactions feel exceptionally natural. Another thing that I think slows the film down is the lack of movement during conversations. Some of this may have been to budgetary constraints (as I mentioned before), but it seems that most of the conversations take place with very little movement. The cast is simply standing around/sitting around talking. And whilst this can be a good thing, it takes away some of the forward movement of the mystery. Shannon, did you get the same feeling about this as me?
Shannon: Yeah, I suppose that I get the same feeling about this as you, but you already know my thoughts on this for the most part - I don’t think them walking around talking would have made it move any faster. As the movie goes forward, we learn more and more about re-wilding, atrazine, and everyone’s opinions on the matter. What did you think of how it ended? I feel like it was not as climactic as I thought it would have been, though, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. The police weren’t involved with the end results of Claire’s discoveries and she was able to bring to light all the truth behind the well poisonings. Personally, I like cliche endings, but I think this non-cliche ending worked well for this film. May as well keep the awkwardness going all the way until the end. I think that the final reveal of the person behind it all could have been handled a bit better, because it came off humorous rather than intense.
I think that was my favorite part about this film: the overall feel and mysterious tone of it. It was enjoyable to sit and think about it, and despite the fact there weren’t very many characters (which obviously limited the choices of who it could have been), it had a very full, round storyline. Nothing was left out of the story as it was told, and I liked that. Could we have had a bit more of the past interactions of these characters? Sure, but that would have changed the way we felt about them.
The director described this movie “as part Winter’s Bone, part Nancy Drew” and I whole-heartedly agree. Though performed on a much smaller scale than J-Law’s first Oscar nom, it has the same feel to it: small performances, huge scale of sceneries, and an intense mystery centering on family. Shannon, do you have anything you want to say in closing before you give your rating?
Shannon: I have not seen Winter’s Bone or read Nancy Drew, but if you say you agree then I’m sure it’s true. I did love all the scenery that was included throughout, how the actors chosen were portraying their characters, and the overall mystery/plot of the film. With that being said, I will give this movie an “ok” rating on my scale. What about you David?
David: I’m going to give Quiet River a “B”. Thanks to all our readers (new and old)! If you have someone who is involved making films, and you think they would like some free exposure, have them send us an e-mail, contact us through our social media pages (Facebook or Twitter), or just get ahold of us through our website. We would be more than happy to review their film. Thanks again to Shane for setting this up!
David and Shannon write about movies.