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Director David Gordon Green gives the vague impression that "Undertow" is a true story by claiming at the beginning that the film was made with the cooperation of Drees County law enforcement and the "family of John W. Munn". In fact, screenwriter Joe Conway based "Undertow" on a story told to a runaway hotline which was thought to be a highly embellished version of some underlying truth. From the start, the characters and their actions don't ring as true or credible, but their emotions are real and powerful. If there is enough suspense and menace in a thriller, the question of plausibility falls by the wayside, as it does here. The film places the burden of credibility on its principle cast of 4, and they all come through. John is afraid of the world. Deel thinks it owes him something. Chris is Deel's naive but strong opposing force. Tim becomes increasingly sympathetic as the film progresses.Read more ›
At this point in the story I was thinking the movie was going to be about Deel's relationship with his brother and getting to know this family he never knew about. I figured the boys would come to grow on Deel and would treat him like a father. Deel would help the boys get through this difficult time.
But "Undertow" isn't interested in that story. And heaven knows we've seen it before. The movie was directed by David Gordon Green ("George Washington", "All the Real Girls") and soon Green switches gears on us in a very unexpected way. Now the movie turns into almost a fairy tale.
Some of the scenes actually had me on the edge of my seat and created more suspense than most of the thrillers being released. And this movie doesn't even seem that interested in suspense. What "Undertow" seems most interested in is the characters. Every performance here seem flawless. We accept ever character as they are. We imagine that Green perhaps knows these characters. People like this must really exist. Every line of dialogue seems like it could have actually been spoken by real people in these exact situations. The characters are fueled by emotions we can actually relate to. What a relief to see a movie like this.Read more ›
It's a bleak and uneventful existance on the Munn farm. John, a widower played by Mulroney, is raising his two boys in a very secluded lifestyle. Oldest son Chris, a prematurely weathered Jamie Bell, handles most of the responsibilities and chores but longs for a different life. He rebels at every opportunity which gets him into trouble with the law as often as not. Younger brother Tim is a sickly and emotionally stunted child. There is talk of a family treasure, told in dreamlike fashion, but no signs of material wealth of any kind.
One day, shady Uncle Deel arrives. Oozing dangerous charm, this ex-con wants to reconnect with his brother, get to know his nephews and get a fresh start. Chris is initially drawn to the stranger, but mistrusts him on many levels too. And as we find out--for good reason. Secrets come out and violence erupts. The boys go on the run, taking hope and charity where they can get it while evading danger. There is a certain menacing "Night of the Hunter" quality to their travels through the country landscape.
I really enjoyed the film. It's unorthodox and has a lazy, southern gothic appeal. I didn't know exactly where the story was going and so was caught up in the journey. There were interesting family dynamics as well as a decent thriller.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great depiction of what can happen when money comes between members of a family...Published 11 days ago by Marcus E. Sharpe
I think first off, I wouldn't call it a horror film. I'd call it the only film to match Citizen Kane in ambition, but anyway, I'll try to keep this short. Read morePublished 6 months ago by R. Correa
a very odd movie in spite of any grace that jamie bell brought to it.Published 9 months ago by Arlon
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