Keanu Reeves' best performance is also one of his firsts (2023)

Of his many iconic performances,Keanu Reevesthe best comes from the beginning of his career, in the grim teen drama calledRiver bank. After landing several supporting roles (Young blood,Flying), Reeves won the lead role opposite MagneticCrispina Gloveraas a teenager who survived the brutal murder of a classmate. When John (Daniel corzo) confesses to some friends that he murdered his girlfriend (Dani homicides), a group of alienated and existentially depressed teenagers try to make sense of a completely pointless act. Credit is often given to Glover, whose performance as Layne is riveting and esoteric, but Keanu's efforts deserve praise, even if they're more restrained than Glover's.



Long before he was stacking bodies like poker chips in an increasingly fantastical world.john wick franchise before breaking into the adrenaline-pumping action genrebreaking pointReeves gave his best performance to date. As Matt, Reeves presents a fascinating psychological complexity involving the stifling, explosive anxiety of an entire generation. Nearly forty years later, his performance on film remains underrated, too often overlooked in favor of his many bigger and more explosive roles.

RELATED:7 Underrated Keanu Reeves Performances You Might Have Missed

River's Edge is a fascinating and dark teen drama

Keanu Reeves' best performance is also one of his firsts (1)

River bankit's one of the darkest coming-of-age movies ever made. It is an examination of despair and existential anguish where its characters, even admitting the murder of one of their friends, ultimately feel nothing. They are too aimless and alienated, too detached from the world they live in, to empathize with the dead in a healthy way.

Reeves gives his character a lingering sense of morality that increasingly alienates him from his group of friends. It's hard to believe this is his first starring role (albeit in an indie drama too edgy to be widely screened). The actor handles the meaty subject like a veteran, hiding his emotions in his eyes from something he doesn't initially reveal until the second half of the film.

For most of the movie, Reeves acts with a kind of stoned coldness that's like a depressive version of hisBilla and Teda character. He is numb from his generational apathy and shared isolation from the world, but the incurable pain remains unhealed. Questioned by the police about the body, Matt squirms in his seat, clearly shaken by the questioning and giving them nothing but crumbs. He asked what he thought as he looked at the corpse and suddenly blurted out: "Nosaber, Alright? do you want me to do somethingabove?” Keanu plays him with a kind of desperation that makes him believable. HeNOhe knows what he was thinking, and it bothers him. If he initially felt disconnected from his deceased friend, it is the disconnection that bothers him.

River bankit works thanks to the mirror morality of Matt and Layne (Glover) and thanks to the mirror performances of the two main characters. Glover is theatrical to a fault, exuding all the cartoony body language and over-the-top execution of lines, making his character an unstoppable force. Reeves is much more nuanced, getting the character right with a sort of restraint that makes the moral conflict in his character all the more believable.

Keanu Reeves is the emotional core of 'River's Edge'

Keanu Reeves' best performance is also one of his firsts (2)

All-encompassing darknessRiver bankit comes in part from one teenager killing another, of course. But it gets much darker when he portrays the general apathy his characters feel in the face of such a tragic crime. when actually teenagersVerbody for the first time, only Mike is clearly disturbed by the sight. Layne initially takes this as a joke, poking the corpse with a stick, stating that they are unresponsive and treating them with the same respect that an act of God would show. The sight immediately haunts Matt. He sits in class, restless and agitated, his mind going back to his body image.

Later, while talking to her friend Clarissa (Ione Skye Leitch), Matt can't help but talk about seeing the body. "ThisafflictedI. Didn't it affect you? helpless question. People talk about crime a lot, but Matt is really the only person who seems haunted by it.

He also protects his little sister (Tammy Herrero), whose beloved doll was drowned by his brother Tim (Joshua John Miller). He helps her give the doll a proper funeral of her own by burying her in her yard and marking her grave with mourning. It's a plot point that reinforces Matt's concept of morality: doing the right thing, being emotionally open to others, and standing up to senseless acts of cruelty changes the world.

LookingRiver bankin the 21st century, when Keanu Reeves has become adored on a virtually unanimous level for being the nicest guy in Hollywood, it seems especially distinctive that his character is the only one with a somehow working moral compass. Layne and Matt act as polar opposites of the film's dark moral code; The murder has no effect on Layne. In any case, it's him.fascinatedThrough the implications it creates, the emotion it brings into their lives, try to hide it. Matt, on the other hand, struggles with a misconception of loyalty as he contemplates whether to turn John in for his crime.

Layne becomes manic, and his increasingly volatile behavior becomes a danger to himself and others. Meanwhile, Matt continues his path towards depression and despair, lost in the meaninglessness of his life. Reeves ties it all together by playing the character of someone who is disturbed by violence and numb from years of incurable apathy.

River's Edge themes age surprisingly well

Keanu Reeves' best performance is also one of his firsts (3)

Due to the universal themes of existential fear,River bankpersists decades later.Neala Jimenez'S the script comes through with lively dialogue that exudes discomfort and black humor. He has an ear for the jargon of the disaffected youth of the 1980s and has a general understanding of the cyclical nature of the spiritual and moral vacuum.

Adolescents, the product of hopeless and downtrodden parents, have little to offer. They have each other, drugs and alcohol they consume en masse, and Feck (dennis hopper), an unstable middle-aged man with an inflatable doll for his wife, and his own violent history. His parents, if they are present at all, do little to help with any psychological problems their children may be facing. They too are too cut off from the world to care. They convey their despair and incurable apathy.

Matt's mom at home.constance Forslund) accuses him of stealing her weed and hysterically denounces her responsibilities as a mother. ("I've given up on that motherly nonsense," she wails to herself.) She is overwhelmed and overwhelmed by being a mother. She has little to offer her children, who turn to crime, poverty and drug use.

Meanwhile, Layne gives context to his irrational support for John and his crimes. He laments 1980s America, which "didn't make senseduma, without senseloyalty, without sensenic'"man", and treats supporting John as if it were a religious duty.

despair at the baseRiver bank,Presented as an allegory, it remains as topical as ever. It exists as an existential fear that can lead those it touches in one of two directions: towards the light or towards the dark. It is a call to choose empathy over indifference, kindness and protection over cruelty. The darkness is often impenetrable, like a pit of thick, sticky tar from which there is no escape, and leads to mutual disconnection.

River bankIt is one of the best teen movies because of its unflinching look at the difficulties of growing up in a disconnected world. In a digital age where true connection is not without its inherent complications, it still feels fresh and relevant. The character played by Keanu Reeves - and his complex performance - is one of the most important elements of the film. Dozens of movies later, it's still the best to date. It is a key summary of the malaise of an entire generation, the precarious balance between doing the right thing and plunging into the abyss of misery.

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