Phoenix Rises from the Dead

Actor River Phoenix at 61st Academy Awards - G...

River Phoenix at the height of his career (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hollywood is full of stories about young, talented stars who shed their “mortal coils” too soon. A recent example involved Heath Ledger, who died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs after giving his penultimate performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. But the one I remember the most is none other than Joaquin’s older brother, River Phoenix.

Phoenix collapsed outside Johnny Depp‘s West Hollywood club The Viper Room in 1993 and convulsed until his heart finally gave out. The deadly combination of cocaine and heroin in his system was simply too much for him. And the star of such films as Stand By Me, Parenthood and My Own Private Idaho would never grace the silver screen again… until now.

Before his death, Phoenix was completing scenes for the film Dark Blood, the story of a widower who flees to the desert to wait for the end of the world following the death of his wife from nuclear radiation. Unfortunately, the film was never finished and sat in storage for nearly twenty years.

Recently, Danish director George Sluizer recovered the footage and completed it with his own voice-overs. The new version opened at the Netherlands Film Festival and has since been drawing lots of attention, which could result in a more commercial release later.

Variety called the film “a surprisingly coherent vision of a decidedly oddball story” and described Phoenix as “suitably charismatic and commanding” in his final role. A critic from The Guardian gave the movie three stars for being “fragmentary, uneven and downright odd in parts,” but admitted it has a great deal of “curiosity value” given the untimely demise of its star.

To me, Dark Blood could be a total bomb and it wouldn’t matter. I want to see it because Phoenix was one of my favorite young actors and to be honest, I miss him. It will be nice to see him on the big screen again, even if it is posthumous.

Something is better than nothing, after all.

Posted on November 2, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. That is one I’d like to see also.Something to look forward to.

  2. I agree COMPLETELY “…To me, Dark Blood could be a total bomb and it wouldn’t matter. I want to see it because Phoenix was one of my favorite young actors and to be honest, I miss him. It will be nice to see him on the big screen again, even if it is posthumous.”

  3. I loved River Phoenix and I’d see this regardless.

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