River Red

Director: Eric Drilling
Screenwriters: Eric Drilling

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


River Red is a stirring dramatic film about the bond between brothers. How far will they go for one another, and can their secrets ultimately destroy them? In rural New Hampshire, Dave and Tom Holden are being raised by an abusive father who treats them differently. He funnels his aggression only at his younger son Tom. As a helpless witness for too long, Dave finally decides to act. In the dark of night, he stabs and kills his drunken father. Tom discovers the gruesome scene and takes control of the situation. He decides to take the rap for the murder because he is a minor and doesn’t risk life in prison and also to repay his brother.

Tom is sent to Juvenile Detention until his twenty-first birthday, while Dave attempts to pick up the pieces at home. Saddled with his father’s debt, he finds a job and begins dating a woman whom he tries to keep separate from his past. But his demons are inescapable. Unable to hold together, his life begins to unravel; he quits his job, breaks contact with his brother, and starts robbing gas stations. When Tom is released and attempts to start anew, he realizes the gravity of the situation. First-time writer/director Drilling has crafted a haunting piece where issues of morality and self-destruction and cycles of abuse bubble to the surface. Stellar performances by the leads and the superior quality of the supporting cast lend authenticity to this compelling story.

Eric Drilling, Director
Eric Drilling was born in New York in 1964. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Syracuse University College of Law. After completing a three-year judicial clerkship in New Hampshire, Drilling returned to New York, where he cofounded a theatre company and was its resident writer. Red River, which he wrote and directed, is his first feature.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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