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Movie Review: Big River Man December 9, 2009

Posted by judylobo in Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer.
Movie Review: Big River Man

Alternate Title: Swims With the Fishes

Story: If ever there was a character made to be the subject of a documentary it was Martin Strel. Director John Maringouin and co-director Molly Lynch struck gold with the material they had to work with, in one – Martin Strel.

Martin Strel is from Slovenia (I had to check it out on a map to make sure I knew where Slovenia was located). Strel is a long distance swimmer – really long distances. He has swam the lengths of the Danube, the Yangtze, the Mississippi and for this film – the Amazon. No kidding.

Martin Strel is in his 50’s. He drinks heavily. He gambles. He plays the guitar. He has high blood pressure and he is overweight. He is also a hero in Slovenia. Strel introduces us to his beloved Slovenia, which he says is shaped like a chicken. He also brags that Slovenians hold the European record for the most drinking while driving. This is a very strange, often funny, sometimes hard to believe and captivating film.

Strel, along with his adoring son Borut (not Borat), who is his publicist, the narrator and often his English translator and Matthew Mohlke a surfer dude type from Montana venture to the Amazon to break another record for marathon swimming. Strel claims he is swimming the Amazon in order to help save the rain forest. Some of his do gooder message gets lost along the way- but what the heck?

Here is Strel’s website:

Acting: Not applicable in a documentary but sometimes I was not really sure if Martin was acting or not.

Trivia: John Maringouin won the Best Cinematography Award at Sundance for this film.

Predilection: I like documentaries.

Critters: Tapir, anaconda, piranhas, crocodiles, birds, fish, monkeys, pigs, horses, cows and more.

Food: Horse Burgers and chicken.

Sex Spectrum: None

Soundtrack: A bizarre mix of tunes.

Opening Titles: Almost 15 minutes went by before titles showed up on the screen.

Visual Art: The Amazon is amazing.

Theater Audience: One other guy and me.

Weather: Lots of rain and heat on the Amazon

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: It got a bit redundant in the middle.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine for this film.

Length: 100 minutes.




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