2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
David Gordon Green's "sophomore jinx.",
This review is from: Undertow (DVD)
David Gordon Green, the writer and director of Undertow, has actually directed three films between Undertow and his exceptional debut film, George Washington. Nevertheless, Undertow marks his first highly praised film since that debut, and as I see it, reflects his true sophomore film in his precocious directorial career thus far.
Sadly, Undertow borrows a bit too much from Terrence Malick. Gordon Green has admittingly stated that he is a Malick disciple (see the Charlie Rose interview for details), but he seems more set upon making a film from that realm of creativity than he actually does from his own. In Undertow, the Malickean borrowing process is at times incredibly annoying, and Gordon Green seems unable to give us a thorough plot with characters we actually give a flip about. I cared for those characters in George Washington, but the characters here in Undertow seem to be sidestepping any type of developmental elements whatsoever, and by the time the film is over, I was actually feeling sorrow for Gordon Green because I knew he was capable of doing much better.
Two boys living in Georgia with their impoverished father become intrigued by the sudden arrival of their uncle (Josh Lucas) who arrives without warning and with something maniacal brewing in his eyes. Soon, the boys are horrified to learn of what his true intentions are and the stage is set for a great hunt across the hot, summer landscapes of Georgia as they flee their uncle's malevolent pursuit. In the process, they come across a wide-range of tramps and do-gooders, some of whom will help them while others will seek to exploit them.
3.5 out of 5