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Turn the River

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: R — for language
  • Director: Chris Eigeman   Cast: Famke Janssen, Jaymie Dornan, Rip Torn, Matt Ross, Lois Smith
  • Running Time: 92 minutes
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review




Ami Armstrong


Screen Media Films

Release Date

May 9, 2008

Release Notes


Official Website


Famke Janssen has a great long body for leaning over a pool table, and as a homeless pool and card hustler in Turn the River, she’s amazingly vivid. She plays a woman whose son was effectively pried out of her hands by the father’s religious- gorgon mom (Lois Smith). But she kept in touch with the boy (Jaymie Dornan), and now she needs $50,000 to kidnap him from his ineffectual father (John Juback) and whisk him over the Canadian border.

The movie, the directorial debut of the actor Chris Eigeman, has a mixture of edginess and melancholy that’s beautifully sustained until the climax, when the tang of realism becomes the cudgel of melodrama. But the actors around Janssen are up to her: the droopily expressive Dornan, the prize ham Rip Torn as the pool-hall owner and surrogate papa, and especially a hangdog Terry Kinney in a role that’s all subtext— he’s making her fake passports but seems to be carrying a whopper of a torch for her. It’s no wonder he’s smitten. I’d be prepared to lose a lot of money just to watch her clear the table.