Undertow (2004) - Drama, Thriller

Hohum Score



Pig farmer John's wife died and he's having problems with the oldest of 2 sons. John's just out of prison brother joins them. He spells trouble.

IMDB: 6.6
Director: David Gordon Green
Stars: Jamie Bell, Josh Lucas
Length: 108 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 26 out of 67 found boring (38.8%)

One-line Reviews (79)

In spite of some repetitive chase scenes and a few superfluous camera tricks, it is Green's best film and deserves more than a limited release.

) and the brothers run off with the gold, Green starts channeling in Malick at his most leisurely and reflective, and we get a lingering shot of a slow-moving woodland stream under Tim's improv'd monologue about chiggers and their habits… The "Night of the Hunter" storyline stalls repeatedly so Green can splice in little comic vignettes of rural life—the uncle's encounters with a talky towtruck driver and a goofy cashier who swallows her gum, the wedding of a local boy and an Asian picture bride—that he'd clearly have loved to expand on.

At this point in his career (and yes, he is the assigned director for the upcoming 'The Secret Life of Bees') he is a creative artist who needs to watch his own completed films carefully to see where he loses control of the story and allows it to disappear in the mists of bland blathering.

Undertow starts out like it's a "family coming together" movie, runs into a big moment of melodrama and then mutates into this ponderous, tiring, idiotic drool.

His extreme close-ups during the suspenseful scenes are so well staged thatone has to sit on the edge of their seat that much longer.

This film unwittingly calls into question the easy cliché of the film schools, the claim that while the stage is a verbal medium, film is essentially a visual one.

Green, through previous movies such as "All the Real Girls," and most of the cast (except for the now muscled grown teen Jamie Bell of "Billy Elliott") are native Southerners who usually take care not to perpetuate stereotypes of isolated, inbred hillbillies, but the script by Lingard Jervey and Joe Conway pours squirmy cliché on top of gutbucket cliché.

Director David Gordon Green's critically acclaimed Undertow is a strange but gripping experience.

Intense, brooding, grimy – this is the best film I've seen in a long time .

Rather than being an tale on good versus evil, this absorbing tour de force concentrates in involving us with the eminent danger brought by the uncle's boys, his perversity and thirst for blood.

And we also get to experience the slowest speed chase in the history of anyone chasing anybody!

Contrived and phony, and really boring.

There was no plot, no theme, and I couldn't have cared less if all of the characters died.

I see many movies and have walked out on maybe three movies in my life.

Pretensions, contrived, phony, hokey - a snooze all the way through .

We feel like these places they travel, and people they meet, are honest-to-goodness real and intricately drawn out.

Utilizing a haunting score by Philip Glass, Undertow gradually builds its low-key tension to a power that becomes riveting.

Luckily for us, Joe Conway avoids that cliché and gives us a hero to love.

The quiet drama that unfolds is slow-paced, but thoroughly absorbing, supported fully by the superbly realized characters.

Between the country side atmosphere that's so rich you can almost taste it,to the gripping suspense,I knew I was in for something great.

It came from nowhere and went nowhere.

Undertow is set in a gritty environment and the farm the father and two brothers live on is just dreary and depressing.

If not, don't waste your time.

It's remarkably well-written, outside some narrative confusion, and Tim Orr's gloomy Southern Gothic imagery match perfectly with what is easily Phillip Glass' most underrated score, and one of his very best overall, creating a stark, beautiful atmosphere.

The story is simple but engaging enough.

Undertow is just a breath of fresh air,it's inventive,suspenseful and downright delightful.

In between the more intense scenes we are introduced to the world around our heroes.

the idiocy and lack of believability in this movie is stunning.

The idiosyncratic dialogue and fresh characters are what makes Green's work so interesting, but they do slow things down, particularly here.

Interesting, but tedious .

As tensions between the brothers become unbearable, the film staggers towards its outlandishly unrealistic and excruciatingly dull final scene.

B+ Movie, A+ Boring .

The best about the film are its stunning cinematography and performances by Jamie Bell as Chris Munn, the older boy and Josh Lucas as Deel Munn, the boys' uncle whom they never knew.

He's consistently unsettling,unpredictable and most importantly disturbing.

In "Undertow" the remarkable banality of the dialogue and the quite arbitrary prolongation of the stale action -at best a mediocre, ugly and meaningless variation of "Huckleberry Finn" - awkwardly contrast with the beauty of the film's photography.

I suggest you ignore them and save your money.

The four main actors are all excellent: Mulroney and Lucas have an unkempt, of-the-dirt sensuality that keeps them constantly engaging and each develops a fully realized character from the material they are given.

He finds the coins, things go terribly wrong and the rest of the movie involves Chris, Tim and Deel wandering aimlessly and pointlessly through the countryside in one of the most boring stretches of film I've ever seen or even imagined.

Fascinating and positively well acted .

slow moody poverty chic parable .

The basic problem is the screenplay- it's virtually nonexistent, and what does exist is all refried trite Hollywood potboiler thriller.

There's some great cinematography as well, the same sense of the beautiful junkyards and backwoods, but the overall story feels kinda contrived.

Though this film could have been intense and thrilling, I found it really boring.

It was a complete waste of time to watch.

Either way, be prepared for a slow and very boring movie.

No annoying child actors, a very promising tour de force from Jamie Bell (Billie Elliott), and Josh Lucas actually scared me with that intense look in his eyes.

This may seem anti-climactic, but it's extremely effective and it makes the chase sequences very exciting and 1970s-influenced.

Some say Green's directing style is reminiscent of Terrence Malick (it is very visually-driven) but I don't think so – rather it is an insult to the former; Green clearly knows what he's doing and lets nature visuals facilitate the story he tells, while Malick lets the story facilitate his pointless nature visuals.

By the middle of the movie we were laughing insults at 'Paint boy' and asking him to please shut up his voice-overs, which are endless, INANE, pointless!

I wouldn't call this a masterpiece but it's well worth the watch.

Those bred on modern "blockbusters" will likely find "Undertow" dull, meandering and pointless.

One of the worst movies ever.

It's not enough that something bad occurs, you should be on the edge of your seat, panicked about that bad thing.

On the run, they undertake a nightmarish journey through forests and swamps, on freight cars and foot, spending time with people living on the margins: a friendly black couple and some runaway girls who Chris is drawn to out of loneliness and fear.

Women, who are few and far between anyway, are of marginal influence in this world, for example we witness the wedding of a mail-order bride, and are ineffectual and inconsistent nurturers to the point of being traitors, amidst a confusing story line about eating disorders-- one girlfriend expresses her affection as a desire to wield a knife for blood.

The former amateurishness has been replaced with some pointless over-slickness.

Perhaps critics who like to think of themselves as artsy will come up with some contrived reason for liking this film.

Though one could say that the slow pacing was used to develop the characters, I think it undermined the film's rush as a thriller.

I recommend this film for anybody seeking something different and something entertaining.

editing is confusing.

***** Spoiler Alert ***** One of the worst movies I've ever seen.

It started nowhere and went nowhere.

We are 'treated' to a loser father who has dragged his weird boys into the countryside to raise pigs and live in their filth.

This well staged and directed film languishes between the few dramatic moments which constitute its meager story and squanders its time on the mundane melancholy of the hardworking bereaved backwoods Georgia family.

Undertow is the only title of Gordon Green available on R4 DVD (not even Pineapple Express has been released on R4 DVD) but anyway, this film has some scenes that alone make of it a worth watching one, it has amazing acting, it is something I definitely would like to watch again in a near future.

John seems to be a real dull fellow, just sitting in his chair and smoking his pipe in the evening.

I love a film with slow building tension,it just makes the payoff that much better,and this film didn't disappoint in that regard.

This is a slow moody southern-atmospheric movie.

These Hollywood fantasies of Faulknerian southern dysfunction are so repetitive, that the completely over-the-top backdrop for this train of thought style suspense piece almost comes off as a sort of parody.

The characters are empty, the plot is stretched beyond its bounds and all that is really left is some nice photography and a very nice soundtrack by Glass.

And this time because it's successfully plot-driven from very early on, the meanderings -- having a firm foundation in action and character -- come to seem engaging digressions rather than mere self-indulgence.

Gold coins, betrayal, and murder figure in this story of two young brothers whose lives change forever when their father's brother unexpectedly shows up at their dreary farmhouse in rural Georgia.

Co-produced by Terrence Malick, Undertow has aspects of a conventional thriller but it bears Green's unmistakable languid, dreamy style, though many are comparing it to Terrence Malick's Badlands and Charles Laughton's classic Night of the Hunter.

Now,the bad things:the ending is way predictable and the script is a bit weak near the ending.

But this patient, slow pace is the calm before the storm as it comes to an end when the brother of the father of the family comes to visit, newly released from prison.

Yet if you are one of those people who pick up a movie and will stop it after like thirty minutes of being pretty bored, then don't get or else you better finish it--because in the end it was worth it.

The result is a film which goes through the genre's motions in a very wayward, unfocused and slow manner, Green seemingly unaware that he's dealing with a tale which needs to be treated as pulp, or on the level of legend or Gothic fairy tale.

He was truly fascinating to watch,he actually made me care about him and for a kid actor his age,that's a tough feat to pull off.

If you like your films fast-paced and action-filled however, its brilliance may be lost on you – but if you give it time, Undertow will surprise you as it's unpredictable, even in style.