Undertow Review

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The quiet life of single dad John Munn (Mulroney) is disturbed when his brother Deel (Lucas) arrives at his farm in search of the gold coins their father owned. After Deel’s greed and anger cause tragedy, he pursues John’s two sons, Chris (Bell) and Tim (


All The Real Girls’ David Gordon Green takes a tentative step closer to the mainstream with this Deep South drama. Opening as a character drama with touches of black comedy, it evolves into a would-be thriller as its two young leads are chased by their menacing uncle. Josh Lucas again impresses as a baddie, while the increasingly mature Jamie Bell essays an impressive Southern accent, his character’s thoughtful narration lending a lyrical, meditative tone.

Green’s typically intimate camera work drinks in the characters and locations to hypnotic effect, as the distrustful relationship between elder nephew and uncle develops into confrontation. The move into truly suspenseful territory is sudden, but not unwelcome, although it’s a shame the sense of urgency starts to evaporate as the brothers continue their flight.

New characters and relationships show promise, but just as they’re warming up the film abruptly ends. And while the quirky structure could be taken as a bold move, the story still feels frustratingly incomplete, rendering the preceding hour or so a tantalising glimpse at what could have been.

A poetic, atmospheric drama that’s worth seeing despite Green’s struggle to blend character drama with more conventional thrills.