I originally saw “River’s Edge” at the house of a high school friend. She often had a bunch of social misfits hanging around, and the film seemed to speak to them more than the usual John Hughes fare, although, of course, no one ever went so far as to murder a classmate and brag about it. It was more the “It’s us against the world” vibe that they connected with.
I’ll skip the plot recitation, since I assume you’ve seen this movie or at least know its storyline and the fact that it broke the careers of Keanu Reeves and Ione Skye. It also gave Crispin Glover, fresh off “Back to the Future,” and Dennis Hopper, fresh off drugs and booze, a low-budget place to ply their method acting trade without worrying about studio interference.
Revisiting the movie for the first time since then, I was struck by the fact that teens today may live in a social media-infused world that allows them to air their transgressions to the whole world, rather than a few friends, but other than that, not much has changed since the ’80s. After all, “River’s Edge” was based on a true story, and I suppose the day could come that some psycho kid murders his girlfriend and posts pictures on Instagram. It wouldn’t take much to update this story for the modern age.
The only bonus feature on this disc, aside from the trailer, is director Tim Hunter’s commentary track, which is a mostly-non-screen-specific discussion of how the film came to be, the challenges he and the cast and crew faced during production, where its legacy sits in film history, and other subjects. It’s a good track that’s worth a listen.