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Undertow (2004) More at IMDbPro »

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Undertow -- Teenaged Chris (Jamie Bell of Billy Elliot) lives with his father, John (Dermot Mulroney), and his little brother, Tim (Devon Alan). When Chris' mother dies, his reclusive father moves the family to a shack in backwoods Georgia, where they raise hogs. One day, John's estranged brother, Deel (Josh Lucas), gets out of prison and shows up on the farm. John is less than thrilled to see him, but agrees to let him stay with the family as long as Deel helps him look after his boys. Chris is initially drawn to his wild-man uncle, but it soon becomes clear that Deel has more on his mind than a family reunion. Greed and years of resentment lead to violence, and Chris finds himself on the run, towing his sickly brother along, with Deel in pursuit.
Undertow -- Trailer


User Rating:
6.7/10   7,114 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 3% 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 & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Quirky and violent southern fairy tale 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 F. 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 .... first assistant camera
Dale Robinette .... still photographer
Adam Stone .... director of photography: second unit
Justin Whitaker .... additional grip
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)
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
Scott Clackum .... location manager (uncredited)
Brendan MacDevette .... production assistant (uncredited)
Joe Monroe .... data management (uncredited)
Adam Paroo .... assistant location manager (uncredited)
Markus Rutledge .... location intern (uncredited)
Gregory G. Woertz .... production executive: Sunflower (uncredited)
Andrew J. Young .... location scout (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
Darrell Kirkland .... thanks
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?

The United Artists logo seen in the opening credits of the film was from the company's archives. All the films released under United Artists at the time of Undertow's release had a different logo. As a child, director Green always saw that logo and was unsettled by it, and for that reason, he used it in the film.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 »
Pistols of GoldSee more »


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22 out of 31 people found the following review useful.
Quirky and violent southern fairy tale, 1 February 2005
Author: ThrownMuse from The land of the Bunyips

John (Dermot Mulroney) is a single father living in backwoods Georgia with his two sons, teenaged Chris (Jamie Bell) and younger Tim (Devon Alan). Their quiet and routine lives are disrupted with the arrival of Deel (Josh Lucas), John's estranged brother. They decide to try to work things out and become a family, but competitiveness gets the best of the two men, secrets are revealed, and this quickly leads to horrific violence. The two kids escape the situation only to find themselves being hunted across the state.

The opening credits have a 70s Dukes of Hazzard feel (ostensibly the filmmaker's way of letting us know in which decade this story is set, as the isolated existence of the family gives no indication) that includes random freeze-frames. This is an early clue that this movie is going to be a unique experience. The freeze-frames become distracting (and seemingly arbitrary) when they return later interspersed throughout the film, but they help to loosen up the exciting (but excruciating!) introduction. The cinematography throughout this film is absolutely gorgeous and makes rural Georgia appear to be some sort of poverty-stricken fantasy land.

The performances are excellent. Mulroney and Lucas, two typical supporting Hollywood heartthrobs that some might say are miscast, actually play well off of each other and are very believable as brothers. The child actors are phenomenal, which is important as the story belongs to these two boys who are suddenly faced with violence that changes their lives. The plot borders on a twisted fairytale--it even involves gold coins! This seems silly at times, but considering this movie is told through the perspective of two young boys, it is somehow fitting.

The movie is at times quirky and filled with charming weirdness. Tim, in particular, is a fascinating character that has some sort of eating disorder where his body rejects food but craves things like paint, mud, and worms. The supporting characters the boys meet on their journey are equally bizarre. Some scenes come across as ridiculous or absurd, but Undertow is a film that is rich in both symbolism and metaphor and it is necessary to look for the deeper meaning of such scenes.

Alternately charming and disturbing, Undertow is a powerful film about the horrors of betrayal and family violence, and the beauty of forgiveness. Highly recommended, but be warned that the violence is graphic and very difficult to watch.

My Rating: 8/10

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