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Cool World

Friday, July 20, 2012
7:00 p.m. My Own Private Idaho
Gus Van Sant (U.S., 1991)

If you needed an actor exuding marred innocence, River Phoenix could go with the flow. At age twenty, he’d already tapped deep currents of fragile and aqueous angst. Phoenix plays Mike, a young street kid whose narcoleptic episodes are like a disappearing act. He psychically zones out of the dreary encounters that mark the search for his long-gone mom. Keanu Reeves, a disaffected joyboy, tags along for the raunchy ride that takes them from Portland to points east. Gus Van Sant’s melancholic portrait of bisexual street hustlers has tragedy written all over it, like the John Rechy novel, City of Night, that first shed its darkness on him.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Van Sant, based on the play Henry IV by William Shakespeare. Photographed by John Campbell. With River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, William Richert, James Russo. (104 mins, Color, 35mm, From Warner Bros.)