xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
I remember reading about the case at the time. A high school kid killed his girlfriend and left her body lying on the ground. Over the next few days, he brought some of his friends out to look at her body, and gradually word of the crime spread through his circle of friends. But for a long time, nobody called the cops.
A lot of op-ed articles were written to analyze this event, which was seen as symptomatic of a wider moral breakdown in our society. "River's Edge," which is a horrifying fiction inspired by the case, offers no explanation and no message; it regards the crime in much the same way the kid's friends stood around looking at the body. The difference is that the film feels a horror that the teenagers apparently did not.
This is the best analytical film about a crime since "The Onion Field" and "In Cold Blood." Like those films, it poses these questions: Why do we need to be told this story? How is it useful to see limited and brutish people doing cruel and stupid things? I suppose there are two answers. One, because such things exist in the world and some of us are curious about them as we are curious in general about human nature. Two, because an artist is never merely a reporter and by seeing the tragedy through his eyes, he helps us to see it through ours.
"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.