The Canyon attests to how a first-rate character actor can elevate a poor film to the ranks of the mediocre. Will Patton’s Henry is an ornery trail guide with a dirty leer, curmudgeonly wisecracks, a whiskey bottle up his sleeve, a Bowie knife on his belt, and a story for every scar.
The usual clichés, in other words, but Patton has his grimy fingerprints all over every scene he’s in. His clients are Lori (Yvonne Strahovski) and Henry (Eion Bailey), a pair of charmless Chicago newlyweds. Henry wants to spend their honeymoon on the back of a mule in the Grand Canyon; Lori, who’s not so sure, serves as the nagging voice of reason.
And so they descend into the parched, picturesque depths, where even Patton is helpless in the face of lines like “Mother Nature is cruel — one way or another, she will have her way!” First-time director Richard Harrah, it seems, can’t get over how gorgeous the scenery is — this thriller is even edited like a slideshow.