Kelly Reichardt is an absolute hero. She’s been making quality films for over 25 years now and I can’t wait to finally check out her 2020 film First Cow. River of Grass is Reichardt’s feature length debut and my personal favorite so far. The way she’s able to take everyday kinds of characters and make them so inescapably real is what makes me want to share her films with people. River of Grass made serious waves during the festival season in 1994 and it launched an incredible career for one of the queens of minimalist style filmmaking.
Cozy is a housewife who often daydreams of a different life and neglects her responsibilities as a wife and mother. One day, she meets the aimless Lee at a bar who buys her a drink. They hangout and then break into someone’s backyard for a late night swim. Lee shows Cozy a gun that he found and then the homeowner comes outside to see what the noise is about. Lee shoots him out of fear and then the two slackers go on the run.
The story is pretty interesting in River of Grass, but it’s the little things that make it a really powerful watch. Jim Denault has been one of the busiest cinematographers over the past couple of decades and this was just the second film he ever worked on. Some of the shots in River of Grass get me really fucking excited about film and that’s obviously what it’s all about. Larry Fessenden edited the film and acted as Lee, who is uber frustrating but compelling as hell. Kelly Reichardt has a true gift and I’ll always be ready to check out anything written or directed by her.