A brilliant cast, including Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama) and Dermot Mulroney (About Schmidt), rips into this tense and edgy film from David Gordon Green, the "gifted director" (Roger Ebert) of George Washington and All the Real Girls.Bristling with "mood, atmosphere, and psychological suspense" (The Christian Science Monitor), Undertow is a thriller that "transcends the genre" (New York Post)! The Munn familyfather John (Mulroney) and his sons, Chris (Bell) and Tim (Devon Alan)lives a solitary life on a rural farm in Georgia. But when John's brother Deel (Lucas) arrives, fresh from prison and with a sea of rage and envy simmering beneath his skin, the family's isolated world becomes one marked by violence, greed and murder.
The dazed, dreamlike world of director David Gordon Green remains intact, although Undertow
has more story than his previous gems (All the Real Girls
, George Washington
). In the hot, green Georgia countryside, a man (Dermot Mulroney) lives with his two sons on a farm; their existence is shattered by the arrival of the man's Faulknerian brother (Josh Lucas), a dangerous sort with an ulterior motive. The movie that follows is like The Night of the Hunter
filtered through a Days of Heaven
lens--there's even a Heaven
-like narration provided by Jamie Bell. That's what you get for having Terrence Malick produce your movie. The plot doesn't always sit comfortably with Green's uncanny style--sometimes it feels like an intrusion on a private world of childhood--and Josh Lucas is "actory" in a way that most Green actors are not. Green is at his best when noticing some stray detail (the younger brother likes to arrange his books according to smell), not when connecting the dots of story. Still, the images will stick in your mind, Tim Orr's cinematography is superb, and Philip Glass provides a suitably mysterioso score. --Robert Horton