In Montana, during the period between the two world wars, it is a small town surrounded by green hills… And in the middle flows a river.
It is a singular film about the education, the family and the lost paradise – America’s wild became, since the deep America -, signed by Robert Redford in 1992; a film full of melancholy, which, however, carries like a long dream. The output of the edition, remastered in DVD and Blu-Ray is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in this adaptation of “The river of the sixth day“, the best-selling semi-autobiographical Norman Maclean.
We follow the history of the family of Maclean, Tom Skeritt (Alien, Top Gun) priest, a presbyterian, and his wife, played by Brenda Blethyn (Orgeuils and Prejudices, come Back to Me) are raising their two sons : the quiet Norman which Craig Sheffer (Life Upside down) lends his features, and Paul the extrovert without fear embodied by Brad Pitt (do I need to specify his filmography ?). Each of these performances is compelling and charismatic, especially Brad Pitt. As for the narration, it is provided by Robert Redford himself, and his warm voice – a thread that guides us along this cruise.
The education of the sons Maclean, divides into two time. The morning there’s a learning methodical, repetitive, and demanding. Whether it is writing like fishing, it is necessary to raise it to the rank of art to achieve perfection and the art is not easy to achieve. The afternoon is devoted to become a man, in this world of rough and wild, the learning is self-taught, between fighting and exploration.
It is rare to see a film about education as complete. More grandiose than a simple coming-of-age-story, ” which is merely a lesson on the passage to maturity, the film encompasses a whole life to show how the seeds planted in childhood formed differently the character of two men. We will recommend to fans of this genre of films precious, the works Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… And Spring (2003) or even the Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
The family unit seems to be a subject dear to Robert Redford who had already won an Oscar for best director in 1982 for People Like the Others on the same theme. However, if the first was a family is clearly dysfunctional, AND in THE MIDDLE FLOWS A RIVER full of love. In the family of Maclean, but also in the family Burns, so protective of his Neal – the prodigal son in spite of his obvious defects.
The relationship between the two brothers Maclean is very interesting. Despite their common education, and how both have applied the rigorous precepts of their father – the one at the fishing fly, the other to the letters -a few years of separation will be enough to keep it away gradually, until they get to know each other really… Yet, brotherly love, gross, but safe sweating the screen between these two, despite their misunderstanding common. It is the same for the family of Burns, whose eldest son, Neal, was disconnected from her loved ones over the years – which doesn’t prevent ever to continue to support it, trying to re-sociabiliser.
If the melancholic tone of the film is definitely the plot, it also comes also of the scenery, untouched wilderness of nature magnified by the director of photography Philippe Rousselot (Dangerous Liaisons, Big Fish). Robert Redford, himself an activist for the environment, seems to express in his film a certain regret to this American wilderness that no longer exists. Anecdote of ironic, the river mentioned in the film, the Big Blackfoot, could not be used during the shooting because it became too populated. This lost era is here immortalized with poetry through the theft of the line of a fishing rod above the surface bubbling of a river on which the sun is reflected.
AND in THE MIDDLE A RIVER RUNS through it appears to be a straightforward, devoid of ups and downs… But that is precisely the beauty of the film we are talking ofmisunderstandings, existing, however, outside of any conflict, between characters that one can only appreciate. Our empathy for each of them, patiently built, turns against us when the communication fails them. The simplicity of the film is endearing rather than annoying. It is a line difficult to trace and although in this case it works well, it is also a limit of the film which loses itself in the meanders of its own power during certain passages, like the one of brother Burns, or when the ellipse is final, do not appear necessarily as necessary.
It is a journey particular to look at , AND in THE MIDDLE FLOWS A RIVER, drifted with the current which will appeal especially to nature lovers and is perfect to blow off a good shot while waiting for the holidays. You only have to put hands on a Blu-Ray of the remastered version, or to rediscover it in theatres since it came out in a few cinemas from May 24, 2017.
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• Realization : Robert Redford
• Screenplay :Richard Friedenberg, based on the novel deNorman Maclean
• Main actors : Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt
• Date of original release : 1992
• Date identified : 24 may 2017
• Duration : 2h03min