Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Lloyd
Extras: Previews, Text Talent Files, Exclusive 32-Page Movie Scrapbook
Beautifully shot in the Montana wilderness, director Robert Redford tells the story of two brothers growing up in a smaller town under the guidance of their authoritarian minister father (Tom Skerritt) in "A River Runs Through It". Sharing their love of fly fishing, which is used as a poetic theme throughout the film, we witness the maturing of Norman (Craig Sheffer) and his younger, more reckless brother Paul (Brad Pitt). With Norman eventually leaving home and studying to become a professor, while Paul chooses to remain in the town where they grew up, becoming a writer for the local newspaper. After his schooling is complete, Norman returns home and quickly notices the rather damaging lifestyle that Paul is leading. Through mounting gambling debts and heavy alcohol consumption, there is little Norman can do to change the ways of his younger brother, leading him on a collision course with his own fate. Redford manages to capture your interest with this inspirational adaptation of Norman Maclean's classic memoir coupled with solid performances and a gorgeous natural backdrop. "A River Runs Through It" is a terrific slice of Americana that easily becomes an instant classic.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment re-releases this well deserving Academy Award winning film (1992, Best Cinematography) in a newly re-mastered anamorphic widescreen presentation. Boasting great color saturation that instantly captures the fantastic scenery, with rich solid black levels delivering every fine detail, this transfer is sure to please. One surprising element is the noticeable dust and dirt particles that become visible throughout the films presentation, although not overly distracting, one would expect for a cleaner exhibition for a film of this caliber. With virtually no extras included on this DVD the film is given the opportunity to stretch out digitally, offering no signs of visible compression whatsoever, which is nice, of course.
"A River Runs Through It" offers a Dolby Surround soundtrack only. Considering the sound was not mixed into a 5.1 presentation, it surprisingly works quite well to provide a good balance for the visual portion of the film. Dialogues maintain a pleasingly natural quality, which is good news, considering this film features plenty of dialogue with narration from Robert Redford mixed throughout the full presentation.
The "Deluxe Edition" banner used on this release is clearly misleading and will cause for quite a bit of disappointment among customers becasue the release features virtually no added value materials. Unless you consider the trailers for "Legends Of The Fall", "Seven Years In Tibet" and "Classic Western Films" combined with the addition of a text style talent files "Added value." Sadly, that's all you get! There is also the inclusion of a 32-page "Deluxe Edition Movie Scrapbook" that, although is nicely presented, I would easily trade in for an audio commentary or at the very least, a behind-the-scenes documentary.
A nice caption from director Robert Redford's narration towards the closing of the film states "eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it" is the best way to cap off this poignant story of a family who, through ups and downs, would bond and were united by their love of fly fishing. Too bad Sony Pictures once again tries to simply get into people's pockets with this misleading release that does not offer any improvement over its previous release. It is a practice the studio has exercised a few times too many in our opinion.