FILM REVIEW: “River Ways”

From Willamette Week, 4/2/08:

Portland-based director Colin Stryker’s doc River Ways offers a good introduction to the Pacific Northwest’s salmon crisis, using the example of Washington’s Snake River to discuss the benefits and implications of removing manmade dams. What’s most impressive about the film is its ability to give a fair shake to every party involved—from wheat farmers and commercial and Native American fishermen to biologists, environmentalists and everyone in between. Its focus on a handful of these central characters puts a human face on the conflict and works well for the most part. But it also periodically trades a penchant for emotions and personal stories for more hard-hitting analysis of the problem. That said, River Ways doesn’t feel like a documentary shot to win an Oscar. It feels like an honest, concerned and judicious film, made to educate and raise awareness about a significant local issue. For that, it does the trick quite well. LANCE KRAMER. Hollywood Theatre. Friday-Sunday, April 4-6.


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