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Film Review: Take Me To the River


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This uneasy drama is the debut feature of Matt Sobel, who has proved himself to be a promising artist in on a smaller canvas and seems to show similar potential now he is working on longer projects. Take Me to the River tackles fears surrounding American’s rural far-right and underlying (or not-so underlying) homophobia.

The story centres around a teenage boy unsure about whether to keep his sexuality a secret from the extended relatives at a family gathering or if to be transparent. Sobel intelligently misfoots us, making us believe we are in for a pro-freedom, anti-discrimination morality tale, but instead delivers something unusual and quietly disturbing. A gentle simmering of background hysteria is ever-present, making us dread what’s lurking around the corner.

This isn’t a horror movie, but it’s drenched in a heady, gothic aroma that’s hard to dispell after viewing. Newcomer Logan Miller, whose work so far has mostly amounted to Disney TV stuff and Spider-Man cartoon voice efforts, is excellent at portraying a character that’s both victim and, in his own way, wielder of cruelty. Watch this boy. He’s going places.

In the end, the film can’t quite take all the atmosphere that’s piled upon it, but this isn’t a catastrophic fault and the film doesn’t collapse entirely. Overall, Take Me to the River is a confident piece of work from an intriguing upcoming talent.

Take Me to the River was screened this autumn at the BFI London Film Festival. A full UK release is yet to be determined. 


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