Wednesday, November 16, 2005


River Phoenix My Own Private Idaho Movie Directed by Gus Van Sant
Starring River Phoenix
by Byron Merritt

Undecided Rating

Film Review Rating: Undecided ...

I tend to enjoy Indie films. Many of them break away from standard Hollywood fodder which can make for a refreshing change whenever watching one on the silver screen or cuddling up on the sofa to check out a movie you know very little about.

But this one's a bit beyond that, which demands some praise ...and caution.

This film is basically about two young men, Scott, played by a very young
Keanu Reeves who likes to break out into stints of Shakespearean dialogue in the telling of this modern day tragedy. Scott comes from a wealthy family but acts like a homosexual vagabond just to piss them off.

Mike, played by
River Phoenix, gives an excellent performance as a homeless, narcoleptic, male prostitute who's in love with Scott but can't seem to make their relationship happen. Scott constantly comes to his rescue whenever sleep forces itself on Mike.

Against these characters Portland, Oregon lives, they travel around, looking form Mike's mother, who'd abandoned him as a child. Mike has never gotten over the trauma of this and anytime he's asked to have sex with a woman, his mind reels back to images of his mother and he goes into one of his narcoleptic spells (stress-related).


There seems to be no specific plot given to the story. We're thrown around the film as if someone has opened up a photo album and are making us stare at pictures of their family vacation. That is to say, this film is choppy like that.

Story flow is tossed to the wind in favor of snappy dialogue, excellent filming (the panoramic shots of open spaces are breathtakingly beautiful), and some great acting.

But after finishing the film (I was able to finish watching it) I wondered about its message. What was the point of showing us these damaged people? What were the film makers trying to get across to the audience?

These are pretty important questions, and I feel that
Gus Van Sant (Director) didn't answer them.

Click here for My Own Private Idaho movie trailer!


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