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Director: Gus Van Sant

Starring: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves

When I first saw this movie many years ago I perceived it to be an uncohesive, pretentious mess. Having watched it again and now being many years older and more open-minded, my original perception could not have been further from the truth.

The story centres around Mike (River Phoenix), a gay hustler who also happens to be narcoleptic, falling unconscious at the first sign of stress.

Mike meets up with mayor's son Scott, and together they embark on a journey to find Mike's mum.

While in a narcoleptic state, Mike dreams about his mother, from whom he was taken away at a young age and put into care.

Without a proper family life, Mike's dysfunctional upbringing and the sense of not belonging have brought him, through his need to be loved, to try and find his mother.

River Phoenix's performance is beautifully crafted in bringing an elegance and subtlety to his character; his lost soul desperately tries to be loved in a society that only has ignorance for this wandering boy who only wants to belong.

Phoenix brings a deep realism to Mike, as he portrays the emotional pain he is suffering, with a heartbreaking performance of sheer brilliance that will go down as one of the greatest in movie history.

Van Sant delivers a film with a raw emotional core which is epitomised by River Phoenix's beautifully played role.

We can only presume to how far Phoenix could have gone but one thing remains - his death was the movie industry's loss.