STUDIO: Tartan Video
MSRP: $14.99
RUNNING TIME: 92 Minutes
Commentary by the director
Theatrical trailers

The Pitch

Bored hotel clerk turns working girl by giving guests a little company in their rooms.

The Humans

Molly Parker, Callum Keith Rennie, Michael Shanks and Don S. Davis

The Nutshell

Leila Murray was born and raised in Suspicious River and has never strayed far from it. She works a menial job at a local hotel and goes home at night to a slowly crumbling marriage. When a customer offers to pay to sleep with her out of the blue, Leila goes along with it. Word quickly spreads about the special services that this hotel offers and soon Leila is entertaining several customers a day. One customer in particular has taken a keen interest in her and seems willing to move their relationship beyond a customer/merchant situation.

One of Leila’s non-male visitors at the hotel is a little girl. The girl’s home life closely resembles Leila’s own childhood and the two quickly recognize that they are kindred spirits. Both wish to leave the town but neither have the means or will necessary to do so. Leila’s life begins to take on a parallel with the girl’s as both of them inch ever closer to disaster.

What is this crap? Awful shading, no sense of form and deplorable hatching. My daughter is dead to me now.

The Lowdown

In Pretty Woman a street wise and charming prostitute shared a romantic relationship with a rich handsome man. In Suspicious River a creepy rugged pimp slaps around a part time hooker and then rapes her. They’re both romances you see. Okay, the latter isn’t very romantic (and neither is the first to be quite honest), but it isn’t really meant to be. Leila forges a romantic bond with one of her clients out of desperation more than romance. She isn’t really naïve enough to believe he’s a good guy and that he’ll rescue her from her life. She’s just so sick and tired of her life that she’s willing to buy into his charade and go along with him.

To make the audience at least understand where Leila is coming from and why she acts the way she does, a little girl is introduced as her friend. This little girl just happens to be experiencing the same type of upbringing that Leila did. Her father is absent all the time on business trips and her mother is having an affair with another man. You see, Leila was just like the little girl when she was young, but now she’s acting almost like her mother did, creating a circle of self-destruction that threatens to unravel space and time and plunge the world into an eternity of darkness.

Unfortunately nothing exciting like that happens. If you enjoy watching characters with crippling personality flaws and abandonment issues make wrong choice after wrong choice then this is the feel bad movie of the year for you. The film is well made and there’s nothing overtly bad about it, it’s just that the characters make such stupid choices that you want to break through the television and throttle them. It’s not because the character motivations make no sense, it’s that they’re so believable and true to life.

When he’s not banging Lexa Doig, Michael Shanks enjoys shanking hookers in dirty hotel rooms.

Suspicious River
is an unfortable film to watch because the characters are easy to identify with and no one wants to see them suffer. Once it’s established that the lives of these characters are going straight into the gutter, the only reason to stick around is to see if they can possibly pull themselves back up. If any of this sounds like quality entertainment to you then you’re made out of strong stuff. Otherwise, Suspicious River will just leave you feeling hollow and sad.

The Package

The only noteworthy special feature on the disc is a feature length commentary by writer and director Lynne Stopkewich. She talks about the difficulties in adapting the source material into a film and the usual production process jibber jabber. Other features boasted about on the packaging include chapter selections and closed captions. Yes, you read that right. You can be whisked away to several predetermined points in the film with the push of a remote button thanks to the wondrous invention known as a chapter selection. Perhaps the idea for this innovative special feature came from the fact that the source material for the film was a book and also had chapters. We may never know.

Good god. Can’t you Stargate rejects can get some tail at Sci-fi conventions and leave me alone?

Tartan is a money making organization and as such they have included an advertisement for A Tale of Two Sisters under the guise of a trailer. Feel free to watch it if you want to rub your own face in the fact that you could have been watching a better film than this one.

5.0 out of 10