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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Don't Ever Let the Same Dog Bite You Twice'
This was one on my `should have seen sooner list', it is a film from 2004 and is the third effort from director (and co-writer) David Gordon Green and received a very mixed response from critics on release.

It is about two brothers, Chris Munn (Jamie Bell) and Tim (Devon Allan), his younger sibling. They live in the back arse of nowhere in rural Georgia. Their...
Published on 6 Mar 2012 by Tommy Dooley

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A forgettable movie made memorable by its oddity
Undertow is an exceedingly odd movie, yet it is its very oddness that makes it compelling. If nothing else, it makes the film memorable - and I don't think it would have been otherwise. I don't know where this is supposed to be set in the South, but it looks like the film had someone in charge of nothing else but finding the most depressing locations of squalor out...
Published on 25 July 2005 by Daniel Jolley


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A forgettable movie made memorable by its oddity, 25 July 2005
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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Undertow is an exceedingly odd movie, yet it is its very oddness that makes it compelling. If nothing else, it makes the film memorable - and I don't think it would have been otherwise. I don't know where this is supposed to be set in the South, but it looks like the film had someone in charge of nothing else but finding the most depressing locations of squalor out there. Poverty apparently causes brain damage, judging by this film, because there is not one truly sane person to be found in the cast of characters. At its heart, I suppose Undertow is basically a human story, but it comes down to a tale of two pairs of brothers. Chris (Jamie Bell) and the younger Tim (Devon Alan) live with their pa John Munn (Dermot Mulroney) out in the middle of nowhere, a human pig sty out in the sticks somewhere. After the death of his wife, John took his sons and basically retreated from the whole world. Chris is always getting into trouble, and we first meet him running from some little hick girl's daddy and suffering a most painful injury sure to make you wince. You immediately say to your self that this kid just ain't right - and then you meet the family. It's hard to read the father; he's tough on Chris, easy on Tim, but hardly supportive in his paternal role. Tim has some health problems - although they would seem to be mental, as the boy has a tendency to eat any nasty substance he gets his hands on. Your all-American family, this is not.
Things are at least bearable - until John's jailbird brother shows up unexpectedly. Even before we learn about the issues John and Deel had in their past, it's easy to see that ol' Deel is up to no good. There's something in that run-down house that he wants, and the Munns' already unhappy home comes crashing down completely, leaving Chris and Tim on the run. The second half of the film follows the two brothers as they try to survive on their own, and survival basically means they have to keep running. Now we see even more pitiful scenes of human discomfort - some rather heart-breaking, some disturbing, and some just incredibly weird.
With such strange characters, there's some interesting dialogue interspersed throughout the film. I have no idea what the crazy mechanic kept running on about, the only truly nice people the young brothers meet up with are borderline loonies, and Tim himself delivers a whole Shakespearian-length monologue about chiggers. I wondered what kind of resolution this movie would bring to bear in the end (actually, I wondered if it would even try to resolve anything at all) - it's not entirely effective, but there is an actual ending. It's the contrast between the two sets of brothers (although one could bring a semantic argument into the definition of brother here) that stands out as a possibility for whatever the movie was supposedly about. I'm not sure I can even classify Undertow, however - I can't stretch my definition of Southern Gothic to truly fit it, and it's certainly not a thriller. Undertow is basically just a real oddball of a movie that somehow succeeds at being fascinating despite itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Don't Ever Let the Same Dog Bite You Twice', 6 Mar 2012
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Undertow [DVD] (DVD)
This was one on my `should have seen sooner list', it is a film from 2004 and is the third effort from director (and co-writer) David Gordon Green and received a very mixed response from critics on release.

It is about two brothers, Chris Munn (Jamie Bell) and Tim (Devon Allan), his younger sibling. They live in the back arse of nowhere in rural Georgia. Their father John (Dermot Mulroney) keeps them away from school and they seem to live a sort of subsistence life, which due to lack of social interaction has left them all a tad dysfunctional. Whilst Chris finds encounters with the local law officials a way of tempering his isolation, the younger Tim seems to withdraw further into a life that predicates the future solely in reference to the little past he can remember.

Then one day a big surprise as a car rolls up the dust road bringing a relative the boys did not know about. It is Deel (Josh Lucas), their errant Uncle, who has just been released from prison. After a tenuous reunion, it soon becomes apparent that Deel isn't really into the welfare of his brothers' family but more into the inheritance that he thinks he has been swindled out of.

This leads to the inevitable confrontation that sees Chris and Tim go on the run. It is at this point that similarities to the absolute classic `Night of the Hunter' are made. That is a misleading comparison as it is only related to in the way the plot develops.

This though, is a well made and observed film, the acting is all excellent especially so for Jamie Bell and Devon Allan who both received Young Artist Awards for their performances. It is a slow, builder of a film that is shot in a dream like way that belies some of the violence and double play. It is visually arresting, but not in a beautiful way but he manages to see art shots in everyday clutter and detritus. The boys are almost always dirty and seemingly dressed in rags, yet this is still cinematically engaging.

A deeply moving and well observed film that deserves praise in its own right, but it broods on the psychology rather than the action, but it held my attention and for me it really worked.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lyrical Southern Tale, 15 Jun 2005
By 
Eric Anderson (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The story of Undertow begins simply enough. Chris Munn (Jamie Bell) is a wild teenager living with his father and brother in rural Georgia. He always seems to be getting in his trouble with the law. His father feels stretched to the limit caring for Chris and his sickly younger brother Tim. Then the boys' uncle Dermot walks into their lives after a mysterious long-term stint in a prison. The momentum of the story quickly picks up when the boys are suddenly sent running for their lives. As if in a fable, the brothers must wander aimlessly in a perilous wilderness while trying to hide a secret.
Director David Gordon Green's two previous feature films, George Washington and All the Real Girls, explored the rich inner drama of rural landscapes and the people who inhabit them. Undertow continues in this vein with a tale that is decidedly more like a Hardy Boys' thriller. But at the same time it contains the psychological and moral density of a film like Night of the Hunter whose story it oftentimes resembles. Although Green's films thus far seem to be similarly themed he has declared that he has a great desire to make a movie about a monkey and racing that includes lots of fart gags. Jamie Bell gives a tremendous performance as a rebellious teenage boy who must quickly mature in extreme circumstances. It makes you want to follow his journey all the way to the movie's startling ending.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ignore them, 24 Jun 2007
This review is from: Undertow [DVD] (DVD)
its true this movie isn't for the average guy wanting to cozy on the couch on a saturday night-its more of an experimentation. Still much better than tom cruise blasting through the bleedin air! its a big mesh of idiosyncrasy and fantasy all in the disguise of a typical hollywood film! it doesnt quite work as well for me as David gordon greens fantastic all the real girls but There are moments in this film -if you're willing to invest in it- that will stay with you all your life. yep and jamie bells fantastic...again!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Through Hillbillie Country!, 26 Dec 2013
This review is from: Undertow [DVD] (DVD)
Think of Bob & Mayella Ewell in `To Kill a Mockingbird' or the mountain hillbillies and locals in `Deliverance ` and these are the types you'll come across in this film. It's all a bit quirky, disturbing and surreal to say the least.
Whilst the `Deep South' is best known for its racist attitude towards blacks, history details it was also a very depressed rural area full of white, illiterate farm labourers, who were no more educated than the slaves who worked the plantations. Their only social standing was that they saw the slaves as lower than they were; in fact they (the whites) were far more ignorant. This is shot in more modern times of course but the past shines through.
Therefore this film isn't about race; it's about the people you meet along the way. It's funny and a little disturbing but never less than interesting. In some ways it's a bit `arty' as it takes you to the poverty of the `Deep South.' It's quirky and very odd ball but there is also genuine suspense, a real storyline, and a little myology thrown for good measure. No one could call it a great film in terms of a wide appeal but it does draw you in and hold you there to the very end. Definitely worth a view as it's so different and I promise you'll dwell on it the next day?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great film., 17 May 2013
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This review is from: Undertow [DVD] (DVD)
A thoughtful well directed film about dark family relationships. The characters were well acted and Jamie Bell in particular is showing great talent as he gets older.If you want a happy clappy film this is not for you.But if you enjoy films that have emotional depth and dark tales and make you think then I would give this a try.I was surprised and glad I had bought this film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this film, 2 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Undertow [DVD] (DVD)
I gave this film a five star rating because it is a well layed out story with an amazing cast of actors. I would recommend this film to those who love a little bit of tension
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5.0 out of 5 stars great film, 28 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Undertow [DVD] (DVD)
excellent film well written and acted kept the tension right through with a couple of twists only down side was the ending was a bit weak
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the box is the best bit.., 23 April 2007
This review is from: Undertow [DVD] (DVD)
you see the box and undertow seems worth the buy, so i bought it. but dear god, jamie bell had a good performance but i really didnt like this film, it was like watching paint dry. i expected it to be bloodier and gorier than it was or led me to beleive. so,,they basically end up running from their physcko uncle through the forest with some gold coins and end up in some backwards town in the middle of nowhere. where: boy meets girl, girl likes boy, uncle finds them and then the climax is pretty disapointing (wont spoil it if you still fancy buying it) . the acting was good dont get me wrong but the plot was sooooo dull and anti climactic, it crawled along and i feel robbed, i wont ever get back thoses 2 and a bit hours i put into this bad-plotted film. i think im more angry at the scriptwriters because the actors did a good job!
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