Summary A medical practitioner gets himself involved in a crime which happens in
a unexpected way. Filled full of guilt, he tries to escape from the
cops of Thailand but finally gets captured for a while, then gets a
approached to go back to his own country.
Genre : Thriller Country : Laos
Cast : Rossif Sutherland : John Lake
Sare Botsford : Dr. Stephanie Novella Ted Atherton : Patrick Reardon
Director : Jamie M. Dagg
“Your face. What
I was very drunk last night.
I was riding a bicycle, and I fell.”
Can you imagine this. One moment you're standing in an operating room amputating someones leg with a saw. The other moment you're running like a madman through Laos trying to outrun the authorities. This happens to John Lake (Rossif Sutherland), a hard-working doctor, who's sent on a well-deserved holiday after a discussion with the head doctor. At his destination (It surely isn't a five star all-inclusive resort) he's having a few drinks one evening, accompanied by an over friendly bartender. On his way to his humble hut he witnesses an assault on a local girl by a drunken, noisy Australian. And in a split second he makes the wrong decision. Before he knows it, he is a fugitive who's wanted for murdering the son of an Australian Senator and raping a native girl.
The result is an intense manhunt for the guilty western doctor by the local police. And he's guilty. That's a fact. The only thing John has in mind, is not to go on trial in Laos itself. "River" is a film in which desperation, fear and guilt are palpable presence. John, sweaty, bloodied and bruised, is constantly on the run. A boat ride with a local resident. A lift from a couple dodgy looking men. A bus trip which happens to be controlled by a police patrol. It doesn't matter in what way he travels, as long as he stays out of the hands of the authorities and manages to reach a US Embassy. He even has to make a certain decision in the end, that goes against his moral principles. The result of this nerve-racking race, is that the film never pauses for a moment. The pace is blistering (probably appropriate for the climate there) fast and exhilarating.
Rossif Sutherland (son of Donald and brother of Keifer Sutherland) acts convincingly. You can see the desperation and fear on his face. A chaotic flight where he relies entirely on his survival instinct. The intensity is unbearable and because of the sultry environment it's as if you can smell John's pungent body odor in your living room. Although the story is fairly straightforward and obvious, the ending is still surprising. Let me put it this way. It has a high "Oh come on" content. A bit against the flow compared to the rest of the movie. I guess the sense for justice presented itself to John suddenly. It's probably a personal trait. John can't resist to do good for others over and over again.