Once the characters start verbalizing their fears and resentment, the picture deflates to a disconcerting degree. This observance of psychological wounds is beyond Hunt’s skill level, who puts in a directorial effort akin to a person hanging on for dear life, not a secure examination of distress. Hunt doesn’t paint broadly, just loudly, failing to rein in her cast when needed. The director is unable to conjure legitimate threat for Ray and Lila, sticking to hammy underworld clichés (portrayed with Hormel-approved panache by Mark Boone Junior) and vague border patrol stoicism (Michael O’Keefe) for tension. Hunt has questionable taste in camera placement as well, with critical junctures of “River” resembling a glorified student film.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.