Genre: Drama, Adventure
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Starring: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland
There is something about director Rob Reiner that every film he makes is always critically acclaimed. His successes with The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men and the unforgettable This Is Spinal Tap have proved why he is so revered, with the ability to turn his hand to any story or style and make it compelling. With Stand By Me in 1986, Reiner set foot on a path that would see him garner this critical respect.
The story is based on Stephen King’s short story Fall from Innocence (featured in the Different Seasons collection) and tells of the adventures of four youths Gordie, Teddy, Vern and Chris as they go on a trip to find the body of a missing teenager. Much more than a journey of curiosity, their journey is also one of self-discovery, identity and friendship.
It is a moving story and from the off you really do feel immersed in their experience. A boys own adventure is always an exciting prospect, and at a time when the boys are beginning to know what it is to be a man, it is one many people can empathise with.
What is most notable about the quartet is how genuine the interplay between them is. Their on screen-chemistry is clear to see and as such captures the notion of friendship so pivotal to the story.
Towards the end of the film, you really get the impression that the characters are changed by their experience, and it serves more as a snapshot to a moment in time that can never be regained: that fall from innocence that King put so simply.
A young Kiefer Sutherland is in fine form as the sneering Ace Merrill, the bully and gang leader intent on finding the body first, and this film helped launched his international career in Hollywood.
Some of the elements of the film do seem a little dated now, but with all the great and the good, it is so easy to look past this that it scarcely matters. For those with an eye for adventure and looking for a stirring account of friendship: look no further than this classic.