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Undertow (2004) More at IMDbPro »

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Undertow -- Trailer


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Popularity: ?
Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Lingard Jervey (story)
Joe Conway (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Undertow on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 December 2004 (Greece) See more »
Following the death of his wife Audrey, John Munn moves with his two sons, mid-teen Chris Munn and adolescent Tim Munn... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A pull toward convention See more (66 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jamie Bell ... Chris Munn

Kristen Stewart ... Lila

Robert Longstreet ... Bern

Terry Loughlin ... Officer Clayton

Dermot Mulroney ... John Munn

Devon Alan ... Tim Munn

Josh Lucas ... Deel Munn

Eddie Rouse ... Wadsworth Pela

Patrice Johnson ... Amica Pela
Charles 'Jester' Poston ... Hard Hat Dandy
Mark Darby Robinson ... Conway

Pat Healy ... Grant the Mechanic

Leigh Higginbotham ... Muriel the Cashier (as Leigh Hill)
Alfred M. Jackson ... Dock Worker
William D. Turner ... Dock Worker

Michael Bacall ... Jacob

Shiri Appleby ... Violet
Carla Bessey ... Violet's Friend
Damian Jewan Lee ... Gus

Bill McKinney ... Grandfather
Michael Gulick ... Old Shirtless Man
David Blazina ... Watch-Guard (as Dave Blazina)
Carlos DeLoach ... Big Bad Cop
George Smith ... Milk Man
H.G. Green ... Newscaster

Jesse Scott Nelson ... Retardoe

Craig Zobel ... Bridegroom
Sophia Lin ... Mail-Order Bride
Anne Marie Dove ... Tattoo Girl
Thelma Louise Carter ... Grandmother
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Grace Tootle ... Hispanic Mother (uncredited)

Directed by
David Gordon Green 
Writing credits
Lingard Jervey (story)

Joe Conway (screenplay) and
David Gordon Green (screenplay)

Produced by
Alessandro Camon .... executive producer
Saar Klein .... executive producer
Sophia Lin .... line producer
Terrence Malick .... producer
Lisa Muskat .... producer
Edward R. Pressman .... producer
John Schmidt .... executive producer
Original Music by
Philip Glass 
Cinematography by
Tim Orr (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Zene Baker 
Steven Gonzales 
Casting by
Mali Finn 
Production Design by
Richard A. Wright  (as Richard Wright)
Set Decoration by
Summer Eubanks 
Costume Design by
Jill Newell 
Makeup Department
Persefone Karakosta .... hair stylist
Persefone Karakosta .... makeup artist
Gene Witham .... hair stylist
Gene Witham .... makeup artist
Production Management
David C. Cook .... post-production supervisor
Craig Zobel .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Blazina .... second assistant director
Heather Daniels .... second second assistant director
Paul Epstein .... first assistant director (as Paul Samuel Epstein)
Craig Zobel .... second unit director
Art Department
Jeffrey J. Barrows .... art department coordinator
Patrick Fuhrman .... set dresser
Scott A. Lawson .... art department coordinator (as Scott Lawson)
Jeff Peixoto .... art department intern
Gregg Perez .... lead man
Jonathan Rudak .... set dresser
Peter Sattler .... on-set dresser
Elizabeth Steinfels .... scenic artist
Jeffrey Thompson .... property master (as Jeffrey C. Thompson)
Parvaneh Mireille .... art assist (uncredited)
Sound Department
David Betancourt .... foley mixer
Larry Blake .... sound re-recording mixer
Larry Blake .... supervising sound editor
Dan Bora .... sound engineer (as Dana Bora)
Matt Coby .... sound editor
Hunter Curra .... sound department intern
Thom 'Coach' Ehle .... consultant: Dolby Stereo
Dawn Fintor .... foley artist
Jay Gallagher .... sound editor
Christof Gebert .... production sound mixer
Christof Gebert .... sound editor
Patricia Gorman .... sound editor
Nicolas Mindreau .... assistant sound engineer
Ichiho Nishiki .... assistant sound engineer
John Stanka .... assistant sound engineer
Joseph Stephens .... boom operator
Alicia Stevenson .... foley artist
Chris Walldorf .... additional boom operator
Visual Effects by
Bill Coffin .... digital artist: Post Logic Cinema Digital
Cal Johnson .... stunt coordinator
Lonnie R. Smith Jr. .... stunt player (as Lonnie Smith)
Cal Johnson .... stunt double: Josh Lucas (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Travis Bell .... additional grip
Michael J. Burke .... loader (as Michael Burke)
Clark Caldwell .... assistant lighting technician
Matt Craig .... additional chief lighting technician (as Matthew Craig)
Eric Felland .... electric
Gordon Gee .... grip intern
Lisa Marie Gleeson .... company electrician
Melissa Guimaraes .... second company grip
Matthew Hale .... key grip (as Matthew D. Hale)
Linda Kallerus .... second assistant camera (as Linda Slater)
Chris Keohane .... camera department intern
Deidre Lally .... assistant lighting technician
Marcus Lehmann .... company grip
Louis Normandin .... additional electric
Felipe Perez-Burchard .... camera department intern
Craig Pressgrove .... "a" camera first assistant
Dale Robinette .... still photographer
Adam Stone .... director of photography: second unit
Justin Whittaker .... additional grip (as Justin Whitaker)
Karey Williams .... still photographer
Kenneth Wilson II .... camera operator: second unit (as Kenneth Wilson)
Aaron Wong .... grip intern
Casting Department
Lee Futch .... extras casting
Lyndsey Gayer .... casting associate
Jonathan Leeder .... casting associate (uncredited)
David Rapaport .... casting associate (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Amy R. Burt .... wardrobe supervisor
Ann Marie Cabri .... wardrobe assistant
Britton Elliott .... wardrobe assistant
Heather Shiver .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Matthew W. Johnson .... iq artist
Jane Rizzo .... assistant editor
Kris Santa Cruz .... scanner: Post Logic Cinema Digital (as Kris Santa Kruz)
Michael Underwood .... digital intermediate color timer: Post Logic Cinema Digital
Cassandra Wiltshire .... digital intermediate producer: Post Logic Cinema Digital
Royce Smith .... color timer (uncredited)
Location Management
Scott Clackum .... location manager (uncredited)
Adam Paroo .... assistant location manager (uncredited)
Andrew J. Young .... location scout (uncredited)
Music Department
Kara Bilof .... music production manager
Jim Keller .... executive music producer
Michael Linnen .... composer: additional music
Nico Muhly .... assistant conductor
Nico Muhly .... chorus preparation: Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Kurt Munkacsi .... music producer
Adam Plack .... musician: didgeridoo
Michael Riesman .... music conductor
Mark Wike .... music supervisor
David Wingo .... composer: additional music
John Moses .... clarinet: musician (uncredited)
Other crew
Zene Baker .... script supervisor
Henry Ball .... film recordist: Post Logic Cinema Digital
Neil Bareish .... post-production accountant
David Barnes .... craft service
Kris Baucom .... clearances coordinator
Kris Baucom .... product placement coordinator
Kris Baucom .... production office coordinator
Carrie Beitzel .... office intern
Dianne Berkun .... artistic director: Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Ben Best .... consultant: Mr. Green
Kara Bilof .... studio manager
Renee Bombardier .... office intern
Cat Celebrezze .... assistant director: Dunvagen Music Publishers
Ryan Demler .... assistant: Mr. John Schmidt
D. Tobias Denney .... additional production assistant (as Dewayne Tobias Denney)
Renee Derossett .... animal coordinator (as Renee De Rossett)
Jorge Diaz .... accounting assistant
Marc Diener .... documentation: Minor's Court
Emmy Ellison .... production assistant: first team
Tim Gallegos .... digital dirt removal: Post Logic Cinema Digital
Matthew H. Giordano .... set production assistant (as Matthew Healey Giordano)
Frida P. Glucoft .... immigration legal (as Frida P. Glucoft Esq.)
Lauren Guilmartin .... key set production assistant
James A. Janowitz .... production legal counsel: Pryor, Cashman, Sherman & Flynn
Phyllis Kaufman .... production legal counsel: Pryor, Cashman, Sherman & Flynn
Trish Kazak .... office production assistant
Albert Krause .... production accountant
Kristina Lankford .... dialect coach
Cassie Larcade .... office intern
Brian Levin .... production intern
Devin Maurer .... set production assistant
Phillip Montgomery .... assistant: Mr. Edward R. Pressman
Jack Munn .... set medic
Lori Nobleza .... end credits: Post Logic Cinema Digital
Melissa Palmer .... production office assistant
Karen Robson .... production legal counsel: Pryor, Cashman, Sherman & Flynn
Christian Rutledge .... resource manager
Howard Samuelsohn .... dialect coach
Megan Schlaack .... assistant: Mr. Camon
Jason J. Scott .... set production assistant (as Jason Scott)
Ryan Shelor .... office intern
Mira Shin .... assistant: Mr. Edward R. Pressman
Ryan Sterritt .... office production assistant
Alexander Tovar .... intern (as Alex Tovar)
Kimberly Waid .... office intern
Jeremy Walker .... unit publicist
Karey Williams .... set tutor
Brendan MacDevette .... production assistant (uncredited)
Joe Monroe .... data management (uncredited)
Markus Rutledge .... location intern (uncredited)
Gregory G. Woertz .... production executive: Sunflower (uncredited)
Russell Ackerman .... thanks
Jeff Bens .... thanks
Mary Buie .... thanks
Blanca Camacho .... thanks
Manny Centeno .... thanks
Michael Chaney .... thanks
Stephanie Conway .... special thanks
Lloyd Daugherty .... thanks
Reed Dulany III .... thanks: Dulany Aviation and Hatcher
Jordan Fox .... thanks
Jon Katz .... thanks
Patrick Kietsrichart .... thanks
Karen Kimball .... thanks
Dean Kirkland .... thanks (as Darrell Kirkland)
Alexandra Malick .... special thanks
Nate Meyer .... thanks
Millie Miller .... thanks: St. Joseph's Candler Immediate Care
Sally Milner .... thanks
Nancy Moffett .... thanks
Erin O'Rourke .... thanks
Annie Pressman .... special thanks
Harvey Ray .... thanks
Michael Roban .... thanks
Jay M. Self .... thanks: Savannah Film Commission (as Jay Self)
Jim Sheehan .... thanks: Club SCAD
Steve Simpson .... thanks
Marc Singer .... thanks
Jasmine Stodel .... thanks
Dee Templeton .... thanks
Rex Templeton .... thanks
Lou Thomann .... thanks
Derrick Tseng .... thanks
Onur Tukel .... thanks
Douglas Tulley .... thanks
Michael Tully .... thanks
Gus Van Sant .... thanks
Will Wallace .... thanks
Gregory G. Woertz .... thanks (as Greg Woertz)
John Wright .... thanks
Sonnie Wright .... thanks
Robert Zarem .... thanks (as Bobby Zarem)
Martin Zoller .... thanks
Walter Zoller .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for violence
108 min
Black and White (one scene) | Color
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Paul Schneider, who had worked with David Gordon Green on his two previous films, was originally supposed to be part of this project, but his scene was cut for budgeting reasons.See more »
Continuity: When Chris and Deel go for a drive, the lock button on Deel's door alternates between up and down.See more »
[first lines]
Grandfather:I never dreamed that the life of my grandsons, which began with such love and comfort, would turn to see so much violence and bloodshed. This is their story as it was told to me.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Under the Undertow (2005) (V)See more »
Monster in the CanyonSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
53 out of 85 people found the following review useful.
A pull toward convention, 7 November 2004
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

A teenage boy smashes his would be girlfriend's window and gets chased by the cops. He leaps out of a barn and lands on a plank driving a long nail through his foot – but surprises us by keeping on running, howling with pain, plank and all. When he's taken to jail he's patched up and released and given the plank back. When he gets home he carves it into a birthday present, a toy airplane for his little brother. This is how this movie begins.

"Undertow" takes place in an unnamed rural part of Georgia near water where at first we meet two boys, Chris and Tim Munn (Jamie Bell and the young Devon Alan) who live on a small isolated pig farm with their moody father, John Munn (Dermot Mulroney), a widower who's buried himself in this far off place because he can't deal with his wife's passing. (The Munns, the opening titles tell us, were real people in Georgia and this is based on their lives.) Suddenly John's brother Deel Munn (Josh Lucas) unexpectedly appears, just out of jail and full of anger and envy. Even if the father was edgy with the boys, and Chris was obstreperous and Tim was odd, it was a solid little world, but Deel's presence leads to violence and flight. The action hinges on a set of gold coins that have an almost fairy-tale significance, and the Brothers Grimm were an influence on the story.

Yes indeed: the story. This new movie by much admired young American director David Gordon Green arouses disappointment in some of his fans who miss the quirky, stylized meanderings of his "George Washington" and "All the Real Girls," because "Undertow" moves squarely into the more conventional world of plot and action. Others who like myself admired almost everything about his earlier efforts but their lack of a strong narrative line are glad that this time there is one. But no doubt it comes at a price. There's a tug of war between the old Green and the new one going on.

The movie divides itself into the time leading up to the violence and the period of flight and pursuit that ends in climax and denouement. There are those who say "Undertow" is derived from Seventies thrillers or "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" or Terrence Malick, whose producer imprimatur the movie bears. These associations pop up because indeed the story is not brilliantly original, even if the texture and look are as distinctive as those of Green's earlier movies. Two thirds of the way through, "Undertow's" narrative arouses expectations of momentum and suspense that are temporarily disappointed, because in the course of flight and pursuit the movie starts to wander a bit. The idiosyncratic dialogue and fresh characters are what makes Green's work so interesting, but they do slow things down, particularly here. In the end neither the die-hard fans nor newcomers will be completely satisfied. It's his very independence that keeps him from completely pleasing anybody but himself.

Green has gone too conventional in some ways, such as cheesy opening titles and an initial series of attention-grabbing freeze-frames, which also continue to reappear sporadically throughout the picture at random moments. The former amateurishness has been replaced with some pointless over-slickness. The cinematography by Green regular Tim Orr is lovely though, with its rich locales and saturated color.

Green's earlier movies fell flat for me -- "George Washington" was singular and engaging but went nowhere, and "All the Real Girls" had more character development but suffered from bad casting and embarrassing dialogue. At its worst moments, which tended to stick in the mind, both movies seemed like Hallmark cards for rural retards.

But "Undertow" does not disappoint, despite its flaws. It retains the distinctive style. 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. The stuff about a chocolate cake at Tim's ruined birthday party, Chris's run with the plank stuck to his foot, even Tim's disgusting-seeming habit of eating mud and crud and paint and throwing up, wake you up and make you pay attention because of their particularity. It's true that Lucas and Mulroney are too much the Hollywood hunks, just as Zooey Deschanel in "Real Girls" was too much the Indie pinup queen: Green may still have some problems with casting. But not with Jamie Bell, who's about perfect. And he still stays true to the composite southern milieu he grew up in. The grandparents who appear in the denouement are priceless, like so many of the incidental characters.

Deel's arrival at the farm is electric in its effect. From then on the scene is nothing but tension. Mulroney and Lucas, if we discount the too-perfect hunkiness, make a good pair of brothers. Both are big, physical, attractive men whose faces aren't unalike. Mulroney has sullenness about him; Lucas is edgy and aggressive. It turns out John's late wife was Deel's girlfriend first, and John stole her away from him, so the fraternal conflict was truly primal. Their confrontation makes you realize how successfully violence conveys a sense of structure in any story.

After that, the boys run off pursued by Deel, carrying away the gold coins Deel thinks he should have gotten from his father instead of John. There are hints of "Huckleberry Finn" in the boys' adventures when they go wandering on the run from Deel, while the boys' meditative voiceovers suggest Malick. It's strange that the sickly little Tim is the one who runs carrying the bag that has both his books and the couple dozen gold coins in it. But despite such inconsistencies and the suggestion by critics and viewers that the narrative is hackneyed, the treatment and the mood are pure David Gordon Green.

With this third film his methods finally make sense. Rather than thinking of Seventies actioners and the movie "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter," you'd do better to refer to Carson McCullers, whose novel that film is based on, or to the stories of Truman Capote or Eudora Welty or William Faulkner, or -- closer to today -- the early novels of Cormac McCarthy; or to the photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard or Sally Mann. Like those artists, and unlike any Hollywood director, Green has a rich, particular, overripe, deeply southern vision. The fun is in the particularity -- in the cashier, for instance, who flirts with Deel and chokes on her gum; in her mechanic husband who rambles on about some obscure musical group called the Storics; in Tim's storytelling from his books and the way he is filing them at home according to their smell. "Despite a few narrative confusions," Jonathan Rosenbaum has written of "Undertow," "I found it pure magic." You could be cynical and say it would take magic to justify the confusions. But Rosenbaum isn't far wrong. For whatever faults it has, "Undertow" really sings.

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