My Own Private Idaho (1991)

A very fascinating take on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” plays, along with a somewhat disconnected character story about family (and narcolepsy).

The Keanu Reeves material is a fun, fairly straight adaptation of Prince Hal’s arc from the “Henry IV” plays, transposed into a modern hustler world. The River Phoenix material is a more ethereal, stream-of-consciousness type character study. Both are well-executed, but it’s obvious that the script went through many developments and mash-ups, as they often feel incoherently pieced together, disconnected thematically, and like they’re from fundamentally different films. It’s always an entertaining, well-made film, but it’s frequently an inconsistent one.


It’s an enchanting film, but not the triumph it feels like it was aiming for. I give it three and a half roads, and a family fortune.


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