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River Phoenix’s Last Film

November 2, 2012 by  

River Phoenix’s Last Film, Nineteen years after the death of River Phoenix, the actor’s final movie, “Dark Blood,” is finally finished. The older brother of Joaquin Phoenix was just 23 when he died of an apparent overdose on October 31, 1993. The “Stand By Me” co-star was shooting “Dark Blood” the day before he died, and his blond hair was still dyed dark brown for the role. The Danish director of the film, George Sluizer, got hold of the footage, which was left unfinished, and completed it with his own voice-overs.

The film opened at the Netherlands Film Festival, and Variety called it “a surprisingly coherent vision of a decidedly oddball story set in the Arizona desert.”

The Hollywood Reporter describes Phoenix’s role in the film as a hermit who lives on a nuclear testing site and is waiting for the end of the world. He is joined by two stranded vacationers (played by Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce), who are seeking shelter after their car breaks down. Phoenix is “suitably charismatic and commanding air in his final role,” according to Variety.

That the movie was finished at all is somewhat miraculous. According to Variety, back in 1999 the insurance company that had the footage wanted to destroy it rather than pay storage costs. Sluizer took back the unmade film, but some legal issues over its rights still exist.

Other film festivals have expressed interest in the movie, and it could potentially be shown at colleges and museums. Although Sluizer is hoping for a wider release, he does not own the commercial rights to the film.

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