Film Review: River

A winding river

Regardless of our reliance on it for survival, as a rule humans take the natural world around them for granted. Little thought is expended on the impact our daily lives have on it and whether one day it simply won’t be there for us in the same way. The air we breathe, the land we cultivate for food, the rivers and seas which quench out thirst and offer their own bounty. One day we’ll come to severely regret our failures of custodianship.

It’s no coincidence that the first civilisations were built within walking distance of rivers. Indeed, most major cities around the world are bisected by them. They are the subject of Jennifer Peedom’s (Sherpa, Mountain) new documentary, River. Narrated by Willem Dafoe from a script by Robert Macfarlane, we’re taken on a journey from the source high up in the mountains to their eventual end in the sea.

River is a breathtaking and powerful documentary which captures both the raging and calm waters with beautiful photography. Using a number of innovative filming techniques, we’re treated to a tour de force of nature filmmaking, but there’s much more to it than just that. River charts our past, present and future relationship with our watercourses. With a soundtrack from the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and additional music from William Barton, Jonny Greenwood, and Radiohead, River brings their beauty and majesty to life.

River is out in UK and Irish cinemas on 18 March with previews on 16 March.

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