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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

River's Edge [Blu-ray]


(Tim Hunter, 1986)


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Hemdale Film

Video: Kino Lorber / Signal One Entertainment / Camera Obscura (DE)



Region: 'A' / Region 'B' / Region 'B'  (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:42.017 / 1:39:40.849 / 1:39:44.061

Disc Size: 23,819,239,888 bytes / 24,096,197,778 bytes / 47,801,416,376 bytes

Feature Size: 23,300,075,520 bytes / 21,596,421,696 bytes / 31,846,782,336 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.84 Mbps / 24.99 Mbps / 36.72 Mbps

Chapters: 9 / 12  / 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Standard (UK - thicker) Blu-ray case / Media Book Case

Release date: January 13th, 2015 / October 26th, 2015 / March 29th, 2019


Video (all three):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1663 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1663 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1690 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1690 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)


LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps


LPCM Audio German 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps


Subtitles (both):

English, None

English, German, none



• Commentary by Director Tim Hunter

Theatrical Trailer (1:59)


Audio commentary with director Tim Hunter
Filmed introduction with Richard Linklater (2015 - 7:51)
Richard Linklater Q&A (2015): the director of Boyhood discusses River's Edge with Lars Nilsen at the Austin Film Society (24:31)

 Austin Film Society Experience (plays the Linklater intro, the film and the Linklater Q&A in continuous sequence)
Original theatrical trailer (1:59)


• Audio commentary with director Tim Hunter
Liv'in on the Edge - Interview with Daniel Roebuck (52:00)
Under the Bridge - interview with cinematographer Frederick Elmes (33:20)
• German theatrical trailer (2:40)
• Original theatrical trailer (1:58)




1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Camera Obscura - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Description: Based on the horrifying real-life murder of a young California girl, this powerful portrait of deadly, disaffected teens stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), lone Skye (Say Anything…), Daniel Roebuck (The Fugitive) and Dennis Hopper (Blue Velvet). On the bank of a river lies the naked body of a brutally murdered young girl. At the nearby high school, Samson (Roebuck) brags to Matt (Reeves) and his friends about how he killed her. Drunk and stoned, the doubting teens trudge to the river and discover that he isn't lying. And oddly, they decide to protect Samson behind a loyal wall of secrecy. Tormented with guilt, Matt questions their silence... and suddenly finds himself in a troubling position: should he do what he thinks is right, or should he keep quiet and live with this demon for the rest of his life? Cult director Tim Hunter (The Saint of Fort Washington) helmed this haunting and chilling tale about disillusioned youth.



The Film:

The nude, strangled body of a teenaged girl lies on the edge of the river. Her murderer is her boyfriend, Daniel Roebuck. All the kids in Roebuck's dismal, dead-end town know who committed the murder. Trouble is, no one bothers to turn Roebuck in; some of the teens don't know how to react to the crime, while others, strung out on drugs and booze, just don't give a damn. A study of contemporary alienation, River's Edge was based on a real-life incident that occurred in Milpitas, California, in 1981. That same year, Neal Jimenez wrote his screenplay for River's Edge, but was not able to finance the project until 1987. Except for Dennis Hopper, cast as a holdover from the sixties who hobbles about on one leg and makes love to a blow-up doll, the cast was largely comprised of unknowns, many of whom (Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye) would definitely be heard from in the future.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

"River's Edge" was directed by Tim Hunter, who made "Tex," about ordinary teenagers who found themselves faced with the choice of dealing drugs. In "River's Edge," that choice has long since been made. These teenagers are alcoholics and drug abusers, including one whose mother is afraid he is stealing her marijuana and a 12-year-old who blackmails the older kids for six-packs.

The central figure in the film is not the murderer, Sampson (Daniel Roebuck), a large, stolid youth who seems perpetually puzzled about why he does anything. It is Layne (Crispin Glover), a strung-out, mercurial rebel who always seems to be on speed and who takes it upon himself to help conceal the crime. When his girlfriend asks him, like, well, gee, she was our friend and all, so shouldn't we feel bad, or something, his answer is that the murderer "had his reasons." What were they? The victim was talking back.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Tim Hunter's River's Edge has arrived on Blu-ray from the Kino-Lorber label.  The corresponding DVD image was quite a bit weaker due to the mid 80's stock curse that prompted a higher level of digital noise in the SD-level transfer than most fans would appreciate.  This single-layered 1080P with a decent bitrate still has a tendency to look very thick with abundant background grain and hints at the same time noise. I also don't doubt that the film looked similar, theatrically, 30-years ago. This 1.85:1 has acceptable, but not stellar contrast, a gritty thickness but some rich colors. All things considered - pretty solid although I don't discount some minor enhancement here and there although it does not appear to be blanketed throughout. This Blu-ray provides a fair HD presentation.


Signal One Entertainment in the UK have a similar technical transfer (single-layered - similar bitrates) but their visuals are a bit darker bringing out the colors a bit more. Framing is the same (1.85:1 - no cropping) - and you still get the heavy grain textures that look like occasional scanner noise. It's pretty much the same HD presentation, excepting it is darker with richer colors overall, and some will appreciate that appearance more.


Camera Obscura out of Germany have transferred River's Edge to Blu-ray in a significantly more robust rendering on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. This produces even more richer colors (greens, reds) and superior contrast minimizing the noise and exporting more consistent grain textures. It looks the best.    




1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Camera Obscura - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Camera Obscura - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Camera Obscura - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Camera Obscura - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



More Camera Obscura - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures













Audio :

What is becoming a standard audio transfer for Kino - a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1663 kbps. It does the job with less-remarkable effects. The score is by Jürgen Knieper (Wim Wender's Wings of Desire and The American Friend) and sounds strong via the lossless with some seething depth and notable crispness. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Signal Entertainment use a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps but it is 24-bit where the KL is 16-bit. It's a slight improvement to my ear - still flat with more pronounced depth. They also offer optional English subtitles but their Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.


Another 16-bit lossless 2.0 channel track and that is the same as the Kino, but the Signal One has a slight superiority and this Camera Obscura has an optional German DUB and German and English subtitles. It is Region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

We get a new commentary by director Tim Hunter discussing many aspects of the production such as casting, and working with some of the actors. It has some merit. There is also a theatrical trailer.


Extras include the same audio commentary with director Tim Hunter as found on the Kino Lorber but add a new 8-minute introduction with director Richard Linklater and a 25-minute Q&A (2015) with him discussing River's Edge with Lars Nilsen at the Austin Film Society. The menu has another option; "Austin Film Society Experience" that plays the Linklater intro, the film and the Linklater Q&A in continuous sequence. There is also an original theatrical trailer.


Same Tim Hunter commentary on the Camera Obscura BD plus Liv'in on the Edge a 52-minute interview with Daniel Roebuck (Samson in the film) talking about his involvement and career by Federico Caddeo. Under the Bridge is a 33-minute interview with cinematographer Frederick Elmes (Wild at Heart, Night on Earth, Eraserhead) plus there are both German and original theatrical trailers and a photo gallery. The package is a Media Book with photos and text (German).    


Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



Camera Obscura - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



Chilling social commentary and often an underrated effort River's Edge has some important positives. The disaffected youths make for a grim atmosphere but it is well crafted, paced and realized by Hunter. I was reasonably pleased with this Kino-Lorber Blu-ray. The 1080P augments the presentation beyond the SD, and the new commentary adds further value. Keep in mind the uncomfortable overhang of the film but it is certainly recommended to those who can accept the morally distasteful elements of the plot.


Signal One have the marginally better release. Those ultra picky on this film's a/v might lean that way and the Linklater extras add further value. It's not a sterling jump ahead but the film is still impacting and region 'B'ers should consider picking this up!


The Camera Obscura Blu-ray package wins in terms of video and extras. It is the one to own for fans of this, often, uncomfortable, but well-made film. Kudos to Camera Obscura for the superiority of their Media Book release.

Gary Tooze

January 13th, 2015

October 21st, 2015

March 28th, 2019



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