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Reviews & Ratings for
Mean Creek More at IMDbPro »

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Index 155 reviews in total 

Haunting and superb.

Author: Trajanc from Canada
21 February 2006

Mean Creek is an amazing accomplishment. This film reminded me that movies about kids don't have to be as supremely stupid as most such films are. Everything about this movie is executed just brilliantly, from the natural and effective acting and dialog to the focused and evocative directing, cinematography and editing. The movie is heartbreakingly sad but still rich with tenderness and compassion for all it's characters. Despite the tragic ending I think the film delivers a very humanistic message that suggests the value of human life and the worth of exploring other peoples character. Excellent film.

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Compelling and sad ride down Mean Creek

Author: matthew from Australia
17 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Good little film about a group of boys ( and one girl) whose plot for revenge on a school bully goes horribly astray. A lot of the power of the film comes from the way the bully is shown to be a sad, lonely and misguided young man who wants to belong and how the plotters deal with this as it complicates their plans for revenge. His character though not sugar coated is very sad and makes what happens to him on the river even more sadder. I read reviews of the film which says the film lost its way the last third. I disagree. The struggle of these kids to come to terms with what has happened and take responsibility for their deeds was powerful for this viewer at least. Great to see a film which explores the moral consequences of actions and taking responsibility for them.

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We need to hurt him without really hurting him.

Author: DaveNoodles
13 January 2006

Aaron Estes debut is a beautiful and haunting tale, that despite its simplicity and some flaws, manages to both be a gripping piece of entertainment/storytelling and also a fairly complex analysis of hate, guilt, loneliness and all the many other human emotions that are especially hard to cope with when you're a teen.

Estes has wisely chosen to keep the plot fairly simple, this gives him room to delve into the mindset and feelings of these very different yet also very alike kids, and he really grabs that opportunity, constantly conveying new back story and exposition, but always in an unobtrusive way and without ever loosing sight of the central conflict that drives the plot along.

Along with DP Sharone Meir the director also creates an intriguing world, the strikingly photogenic setting is milked for all it's worth, and despite some minor indulgences, especially noticeable in one central scene set at a riverbank, the choice to mix hard hand-held images with poetic Mallick like images generally comes of as an inspired and strong choice that puts you right in there with the characters and their predicaments.

The characters are all fleshed out (though some do of course get more time then others) and the actors all seem to relish the chance to play something much closer to real human beings then the cyphers that normally occupy youth-movies. These people are complex and flawed, no one is really good, nor is anyone really bad, which must be said to be something of a brave move, since it's easy to alienate every audience member out there, keep people floating in a moral vacuum where they don't know what to think and so they turn on the film because they feel insulted and abandoned... but I don't think that happens here, I think Estes brilliant writing and the sympathetic recognizably human performances makes it complex and emotionally draining in a way that is viscerally entertaining and yet never pandering. Some might react very differently though (there is one character whom it is very easy to hate if you fell so inclined, the film most certainly doesn't try to paint him as some sort of martyr), and I guess that may be a flaw from a commercial standpoint, but it certainly doesn't make the film any worse.

Rory Culkin and Josh Peck are probably the standouts in the cast, but it really is an ensemble film, and everybody more then delivers. Even if there was no other reason to see it, it would still be worth it for the magnificent performances (luckily there's plenty of other reasons, including a great score).

Structurally the film is flawed, but through no real fault of its own, it's just so that the scene everything revolves around is so powerful that only by throwing explosions or car chases in there could it ever be topped, and since Estes doesn't feel like throwing superficial drama in to make the ending more satisfying, that is not the kind of film he's making here, there's no way around the fact that the last part of the film is a little bit less gripping then the rest.

A good movie, well worth seeing, and it doesn't really matter if you're young or old, it will still resonate I believe.

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Not a bad movie......

Author: Bartjojo2002 from United States
3 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I liked this movie overall., I was kind of disappointed with the ending as it really was not clear what happens to the kids who confessed. I like the dude that was in the movie Eurotrip., although I have to say I was a little disappointed we didn't get to see him or Ryan Kelley (Smallville) shirtless. In the commentary., the actor in the scene where he had to pull down his pants., said they used a "butt double". I think he looked great regardless. They also didn't spend much time on the kids' families., like the one dude who had two fathers. I still don't think he was gay but it would have been good to hear more about him having two dads.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good Film, But Never Quite Reaching the Level of Great

Author: gavin6942 from United States
3 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When a teen (Rory Culkin) is bullied, his brother and friends lure the bully into the woods to seek vengeance.

While this film is highly predictable, that does nothing to take away from it. The simple plot of revenge gone wrong is not judged by the plot itself but by its execution. And the execution here is rather well done. Not perfect, mind you, but quite good just the same.

George (Josh Peck) is a difficult character. While it is hard to love him, there is definitely an emotional divide: do we dislike him or feel sorry for him? Can we do both simultaneously? The film tests the audience as much as it tries to expose the world of bullies.

There are a few questionable plot switches later on in the film, but nothing completely unbelievable. More surprising is how much the film focuses on building up to the key moment rather than dealing with it after the fact. The third act is short, leaving many questions in its wake.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Intensly real and emotional, Great performances all around!

Author: Chris Smith (RockPortReview) from United States
27 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mean Creek 1/11/2011

I'm back with my take on the 2004 film "Mean Creek". Directed by Jacob Aaron Estes and starring a fantastic young cast that was recognized at the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards. This movie tells the story of a middle school bully who gets taught a very serious lesson from a bunch of neighborhood kids. This is a very powerful and disturbingly real drama about kids who get in way over there heads.

Sam, played by Rory Culkin, is beaten up by George the fat school bully for basically doing nothing. When he gets home and tells his older brother, they devise a plan to get back at him. With the help of some friends and Sam's young girlfriend Millie, they invite George on a boat ride for Sam's faux birthday party. He agrees and thus starts the beginning of the end for this foul mouthed outsider.

The way all of the characters are portrayed and developed is the strength of this small indie film. The story is grounded in such truth and believability it is quite shocking. George the bully is played marvelously by Josh Peck. He is more then you stereo typical bully. He has trouble making friends and relating to kids his age. He is dyslexic and tries to be one of the gang without actually being himself. This results in him coming off as a awkward foul mouthed ball of anger and confusion. Halfway through the boat ride, Sam and the others decide that George is a misunderstood kid and doesn't deserve what's coming to him. Sam's brothers friend is not convinced and wants to proceed. His brother is shown to be a bully in his own right and this is a big reason why he wants continue with the plan.

****Spoiler Alert****

In a game of truth or dare George is backed into a corner when dared to strip and jump overboard. He refuses and then goes on a vicious tirade ripping into each of them. He is pushed into the water and can't swim. Everybody in the boat freezes as they watch him struggle to stay above water. When they finally try to save him it's too late and he drowns. What are they going to do now? The kids deal with the situation in a sort of quite and contemplative panic. What will this mean for the rest of their lives? The majority of the group wants to bring the body back and tell the police what happen. The older guys want to bury the body along with the truth, and that's what ends up happening.

It's a game of self preservation versus honesty and responsibility. Once back at home the younger kids' band together and decide to tell George's mother the truth. "Mean Creek" is a remarkably well made film and is heartbreaking to watch. The themes of bulling by kids at school and by family members is brought to the forefront and painfully executed. The DVD also includes a director and cast commentary. This movie is well worth a rental if not a buy.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

outstanding movies can still be made for under $1,000,000

Author: puttputtk from United States
14 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mean Creek

5 word Summary

Boys try Retaliating against bully

When a boy, Sam, is bullied at school his brother, Rocky, and his brothers friend, Marty, decide that the bully needs to pay for what he has done. They plan on taking a canoe trip with Sam, Rocky, Marty, Sam's friends Clyde and Millie, and the bully, George. While on the trip they were gonna start a game of truth or dare and when its George's turn, have him strip naked and jump in the river and then make him walk home naked and humiliated.

When the trip begins everyone starts to enjoy George's company. Everyone starts to think he's just a nice kid who tries to get attention and friends. When Millie finds out about the plans she tells Sam shes not continuing unless the plans are called off. The word is past around and they decide to not start the game of truth or dare, except Marty. Marty feels George is trying to get stuff from everyone to use it against them later and he wants to go through with the plans. As the day goes on George slowly pisses everyone off, and when Marty tries to start the game everyone backs off until George calls them all pussies. Game on.


Now after the spoiler alert I'll assume anyone else reading has seen the film and I'll stop explaining.

After Georges death they all go they're separate ways and try to forget but its nothing they can forget. For me it seemed that the aftershock of George's death wasn't long enough. It's almost as if they built up a lot for the death and then rushed to the end. Not for the whole after death I guess, the scene on the beach with them all sitting around was excellent. No ones talking, no ones moving. They are all shocked and don't know what to do. Even though really they didn't do anything very wrong, it was an accident ,but none of them are thinking right, so they decide, or Marty decides, to bury the body.

As a viewer i was still caught up in the whole death and burial scene by the time the film was over. I kind of wish they would have shown a little more of them when they get home. But then again no one besides Marty thought it was a good idea to start with. So when they decide to tell George's parents it probably would have been a pretty quick. So what happens to Marty? Well we know he robs a store, but not much else. We know he was very scared and worried from the way he acted during the robbery. Was he getting money to run away? Thinking he was going to jail? Or was he just confused and scared and didn't know what to do?

The directing and acting was all really well done. It is truly a wonderful and moving film especially for such a low budget, traditionally speaking. And really I think everyone saw the death coming from the beginning but the fact that the director was still able to shock us with the scene is truly an achievement.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Intense and disturbingly hypnotic

Author: Dragoneyed363 from United States
22 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was so surprised at how wonderful Mean Creek ended up being. I had been wanting to see it for awhile before I finally got around to renting it at Movie Gallery. When I put the movie in, I had no idea what I was in for, I just knew the cast and the basic plot, but I was still so excited. As it started off, I was immediately interested. This is one of those movies where it sucks you in from the start and doesn't let go, because they spend just the right amount of time on making their characters structured and believable. I love the main story plot; George, the bully and victim, is especially mean to Sam, who is really our main protagonist, and so Sam's brother, Rocky, comes up with a scheme to get back at George with the help of his two friends, Clyde and Marty.

As the film progressed, I got more and more interested as to what's going to happen as Sam, Clyde, Marty, Rocky, George and Millie, Sam's mutual crush, are out in the boat having a good time when all of a sudden George brings up the sensitive subject of Marty's father. Things get out of hand, and Rocky ends up accidentally pushing George off the boat drowning him because he can not swim. After that, the movie is just too tempting to look away from, because they've built up all these characters and suspense to finally show the climax and now you're wondering how it's all going to end. This movie is fantastic and eerily intense! All the actors and actress gave great and memorable performances, the plot was cunning and effective as well as the movie itself. It never stops entertaining, and I was left wanting to watch the movie all over again! This deserves any positive recognition it gets! I loved it!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
8 March 2008

Mean Creek (2004)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Five teens take a local bully out into the woods to teach him a lesson but things take a tragic turn. The great thing about message boards is you can read other people's opinions and check out a film you normally would have passed over. After all the praise this film got I checked it out and really enjoyed the thing. The only problem is some obvious things lifted from Stand By Me and Deliverance but on the whole this is a pretty incredible little gem. The story doesn't have any false steps and I was pleased with the ending. The film manages to be very funny and that mixes well with the more sad and depressing aspects.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The truth about George.

Author: tamimarie228 from Iowa
25 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is a cross between "Deliverance" and "Bully." It's about Sam who gets his face beat in by George during recess. So Sam tells his brother and they get together with Marty (same name as in "Bully") and Millie in a boat down a river.They decide they are going to play a joke on old George but the prank takes a dark side. As they are going along, Sam starts to like George and George really grows on him. Some change their mind about the prank and one decides to tell the truth to George.

There is a sadness to this movie. On one hand, I wanted George to get what he deserved. On the other hand, George became a likable guy who was just obnoxious. This was a really great movie because I think that it was acting that held it together. There are times in the movie where the tension and silence and so thick that I could just cut it was a knife. The moments of silence and the way they looked at each other during the "scene" was just really well done. It was an excellent and incredible movie.

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