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Tim Hunter's chilling, based-on-fact youth drama about a group of small-town slackers who cover up the murder of one of their circle gave Keanu Reeves one of his first and best dramatic roles.
After murdering his girlfriend and dumping her body in the river, small-town slacker Samson (Daniel Roebuck) barely seems to register the enormity of his deed, bragging to his friends about the killing and even showing them the body. Taking charge, Layne (Crispin Glover), the group's self-proclaimed leader, insists that they have to protect Samson, and starts making plans to smuggle him out of the state, while Matt (Keanu Reeves) wrestles with his conscience and his devotion to his friends while seeking comfort in the arms of Clarissa (Ione Skye). Based on a true story, River's Edge is a chilling portrait of teenage alienation, turning angst into apathy and malaise into menace and brilliantly crafting a strangely inverted thriller where the action is less unnerving than the inaction. Featuring standout turns by the manic Glover and an unhinged (is there any other kind?) Dennis Hopper, River's Edge made Reeves — who gives a genuinely sensitive and warmly likable performance as the conflicted Matt — into a sought-after young star.