Following the death of his wife Audrey, John Munn moves with his two sons, mid-teen Chris Munn and adolescent Tim Munn, to a pig farm in rural Drees County, Georgia, where they lead a ...
See full summary »
Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.
Following the death of his wife Audrey, John Munn moves with his two sons, mid-teen Chris Munn and adolescent Tim Munn, to a pig farm in rural Drees County, Georgia, where they lead a reclusive life. The boys' maternal grandparents no longer visit due to being out of sorts with John. Chris is rebelling against this life in ways where he is regularly picked up by the police. Because of Tim's young age and health issues, Chris is routinely asked by their father to do more than his fair share of work around the farm. Into their lives returns Deel Munn, John's brother who the two boys did not even know existed. John emotionally distanced himself from Deel following Audrey's death and Deel's incarceration, Deel who has just been released from prison. John, however, welcomes his brother in a effort to mend old wounds, and for the boys to get to know one of their few relations. They will all soon learn that Deel has ulterior motives for his visit, those motives emerging largely from those ...Written by
Devon Alan's (Tim) monologue about "Chiggars" was not in the script and was totally improvised by the 11 year old. See more »
When the black woman they take refuge with is in the bedroom, she finds the contact details of the boys written on the inside flap of the backpack. Later when the boys run away because they find out their uncle is coming, they just run straight from where they were outside, with no detours to pick up the backpack. However, later, Tim is shown with the backpack. See more »
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 »
[at the start of the film] The following film was made with the assistance of the Drees County law enforcement agencies and the surviving family of John W. Munn. See more »
So Now the American South is the Heart of Darkness
"Undertow" is an update of "The Night of the Hunter," as influenced by the father/son/brothers dynamics of Sam Shepard.
Director David Gordon Green pretty much only adds the color to a familiar tale of a gruesomely violent chase. The cinematography is beautiful and Green has a painterly eye in his camera shot composition.
Green, through previous movies such as "All the Real Girls," and most of the cast (except for the now muscled grown teen Jamie Bell of "Billy Elliott") are native Southerners who usually take care not to perpetuate stereotypes of isolated, inbred hillbillies, but the script by Lingard Jervey and Joe Conway pours squirmy cliché on top of gutbucket cliché. At least questions we have in one scene are usually answered in the next, for example as to why the kids aren't in school or if they have any income for food and clothes (when pig farming doesn't pay the bills, the dad does taxidermy), and there's some passing implications about depression to explain family dysfunction.
But even when the chase begins, the odyssey becomes "Cold Mountain"-like in meeting up with more and more mentally damaged, if not out and out deranged, or at least weird, collections of individuals and "families" who live outside of civilization as if they are in a post-apocalyptic heart of darkness.
Women, who are few and far between anyway, are of marginal influence in this world, for example we witness the wedding of a mail-order bride, and are ineffectual and inconsistent nurturers to the point of being traitors, amidst a confusing story line about eating disorders-- one girlfriend expresses her affection as a desire to wield a knife for blood.
The Philip Glass score is excellent at reinforcing the very creepy mood, as if the threats and visuals of stomach-churning violence weren't enough.
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this