Yet another look into the savage heart of white-trash masculinity, River Red explores just how thick blood really is.
In a hovel on the outskirts of a New Hampshire town, Dave Holden (Tom Everett Scott)
casually kills his father to
prevent him from further abusing Dave’s younger brother, Tom (David Moscow). Not yet 21, Tom willingly takes the rap
and receives a brief juvenile sentence. But there is no
escape from Dad’s lethal
legacy. Refusing the charity of a superfluous job working for a diner owner (Cracker singer David Lowery), Dave broods at home, turns to crime, and
becomes a cruel, alcoholic thug like his father. Inevitably, more blood is shed, and the brothers must figure out what it means to do right by each other. Writer-director Eric Drilling gets the gloomy
atmosphere right, thanks to admirably subtle work from his cast and an evocative score by Lowery’s band mate, Johnny Hickman. There’s little insight, however, other than a judge’s remark that “We all punish ourselves in different ways”— words to ponder while sitting through this numbingly grim picture.