A year-long journey by Oscilloscope Laboratories to restore Kelly Reichardt’s 1994 debut film, River of Grass, reaches its conclusion on Apr. 26 with the release of both DVD and Blu-ray editions.
Reichardt has long been a favorite of the film festival circuit, raking up award after award for her films — Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Old Joy, Night Moves, etc. — so it was only natural that Oscilloscope Laboratories would be the source to undertake the 2K restoration (in cooperation with UCLA). After all, they have already released two of her films to the home entertainment market place — the aforementioned Wendy and Lucy (in 2009) and Meek’s Cutoff (2011).
The film stars Larry Fessenden in one of his early roles — since the early ‘90s he has become one of the leading independent writers, producers and actors in all of film land. A very busy fellow and, indeed, he would come to produce both Reichardt’s Night Moves (2013) and Wendy and Lucy.
His co-star, Lisa Bowman, made her theatrical debut with River of Grass and does double duty as both Cozy Cole, a 30ish mother of two trapped in a loveless marriage, and the dead pan narrator of the film. Her co-star, Fessenden plays Lee Ray, a slacker about to turn 30 who lives with both his mom and grandmother and literally has no future; a dolt of the first order.
The two live near Florida’s everglades, hence the title, and manage to find each other one Bonnie and Clyde; Mickey and Mallory they are not … well, maybe they are, but extremely low energy versions thereof. The only thing they have in common with the better known crime couples is that they are on the lam — except maybe they are not being pursued by anyone. In any case, and this is the fun of Reichardt’s film, they are both so inept that escape from the area is akin to being trapped in a Twilight Zone episode.evening at a local bar.
Oscilloscope Laboratories unveiled the new film restoration at both the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival and has placed the film in limited arthouse release.
Bonus features include a commentary track teaming Kelly Reichardt with actor and producer Larry Fessenden and a featurette demonstrating the restoration process.