Suspicious River (2000)

Description[from Freebase]

Suspicious River is a Canadian dramatic film, released in 2000. The film was directed by Lynne Stopkewich, based on a novel by Laura Kasischke. The film was rated R by the MPAA "for strong sexual content including sexual violence, and language." Leila Murray works as a receptionist in a motel. She begins to offer sexual services to customers in exchange for money. As she explores her sexuality, she discovers within herself an attraction towards semi-rough sex. One of her customers, Gary Jensen, beats her during their first encounter. When he returns to apologize, she accepts and begins to see him again. When one of Leila's other customers gets too rough, Leila flees to Gary's room to seek his consolation and protection. His gentle treatment of her encourages her growing trust in him. Leila's only confidant, outside of Gary, is a little girl that plays around the inn. The girl lives in an unhappy home, where her parents fight constantly. One day, the girl's Uncle Andy takes the child and her mother Bonnie on a roadtrip. In the midst of this trip, the little girl discovers that her mother and her Uncle Andy are having an affair.

Review

You’ll have trouble tracking down a more unwatchable movie this year than Suspicious River, which both firmly installs Molly Parker as the unequivocal goddess of freak-out not-quite-porn movies and will have you wondering just how bad a script has to be in order to get a movie made.

Director Lynne Stopkewich last worked with Parker on the film Kissed, which offered Parker as a mortuary embalmer who had sex with her dead clients. Here she’s strictly having sex with the living. She’s a receptionist at a seedy motel — and she’s the reason it’s seedy. You pay $60 for the room. Then you pay $60 for her to come round and give you oral sex.

Before long, she gets a client (Callum Keith Rennie) that realizes this behavior is a bit, er, irregular, and figures he can take advantage of her. Soon enough, he’s visiting her regularly, alternately forcing sex upon her and beating her up. She keeps coming back for more, culminating in kidnapping, a gang rape, and a plan to set her on fire. Will she accept her fate or actually make an effort to escape?

Meanwhile, she’s visited by a little girl with a secret you’ll figure out before the end… something that might have to do with the reason why Parker’s character is a super-freak.

Whatever you might have thought about Kissed, Suspicious River is far worse. The underlying reason for Parker’s character’s freakiness is ultimately unsatisfying and, more to the point, insulting. Rennie, who has built a mini-career on playing brooding and disturbed semi-hicks like this, is unwatchable as he mutters his awful lines. Both of them come across as losers (just of a different ilk), so in a sense we feel they deserve each other. But watching this descent into resignation and hopelessness is a bit like spending 100 minutes watching a terminally ill person slip away. Sure, Stopkewich’s film, like the worth of Catherine Breillat, isn’t meant to feel good — in any way — but its utter lack of any redeeming qualities in storytelling, acting, or theme means you’ll want to think twice before checking out this title.

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