Undertow

 (239)6.61 h 48 min2004R
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.
Directors
David Gordon Green
Starring
Jamie BellKristen StewartRobert Longstreet
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

239 global ratings

  1. 41% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 16% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 6% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 20% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Todd M.Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
You can pick it apart or just sit back and enjoy it.
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It’s not a flawless piece of cinema but it kept our attention and that’s about all we expect anymore. It was a good cast and a decent plot but there were flaws in it and the coins were only there to create the drama. It appears to have been based on some factual information but it’s a slice of life and those do tend to play out slowly. I liked the ending though it did leave some questions unanswered and that’s likely intentional.
3 people found this helpful
SoonerReviewed in the United States on June 15, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Thoughtful though Dark
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This was really quite a good movie. Never heard of it, but glad I tried it. A bit too much gimmicky editing right at the first, but I understand their idea for it. The young-uns did a great job of acting. I hate poorly conceived endings and this one was okay up until the last frame when the somber Tim popped his balloon. I'm sure there is some symbolism meant to be there, but it didn't go well with what appeared to be a happy ending.
2 people found this helpful
J Ross MerlotReviewed in the United States on January 24, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Pretty Dark, without much payoff
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The acting was very good, and the story beleivable - but it was a very dark story indeed. I recognize that sometimes needs to happen when a film is supposed to be based on actual events, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. The thing I disliked about it though was that it didn't feel like there was an ending; it just kind of stopped. In the wake of such a horrendous series of events I would have expected something more.
3 people found this helpful
RFSReviewed in the United States on August 2, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Engaging Film, Well Done
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coming of age story meets thriller; interesting story line, the writing had a few holes but the plot is engaging; nicely cast with quality acting and convincing setting; characters have depth, and model admirable and despicable traits; (is Josh Lucas actually Matthew McConaughey?)
Cj D. VriesReviewed in the United States on April 23, 2006
4.0 out of 5 stars
RL Stevenson & Twin Peaks & David Gordon Green = UNDERTOW
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I read an article a while back, discussing some overlooked movies of the past few years. "Undertow" was one of them, and for some reason I took a chance and ordered it. As I always try not to read too much about a movie beforehand (it's such an irritation when reviewers give away essential elements of the plot), I wasnt quite sure what to expect. I had an uneasy feeling that it might turn out to be a slow moving artsy fartsy movie about Hillbillies. After the first few seconds my trepidations were gone and I was happily lost in the strange, eerie and entertaining world created by Mr Green. He truly is a remarkable talent and because of this movie I have also ordered "George Washington", his first feature film. I was very impressed by the four leads of UNDERTOW, each portraying their characters with gusto and visible dedication. The cameos are wonderfully off beat, and well acted. The commentary track by Green and Jamie Bell provides insightful and amusing facts about the project and is well worth a listen. It's a good story with believable characters and some nailbiting moments! But, because of David Gordon Green's artistic touches, the movie is elevated to more than just a commercial flick. I do hope more people will become aware of UNDERTOW in future as it really deserves more credit and attention.
14 people found this helpful
E. KutinskyReviewed in the United States on March 25, 2008
4.0 out of 5 stars
Hard to shake
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This is a bit of review from memory, but it's the memories I've kept of this movie that recently led me to purchasing it again. I saw it in 2004, some 3 1/2 years ago, and as I went this week to catch David Gordon Greene's latest movie, Snow Angels, it was the originality, cleverness, and imagistic wisdom of Undertow I remembered. At the time, I felt it a giant step down from All The Real Girls, Greene's movie of first love that is so warm it's like first love itself, and it is, but it's also a clever, absorbing gothic thriller. I remember liking other movies of 2004 more, but none have retained the memory of this one - of its lines, somewhere between poetry and lunacy ("Can I carve my name in your face," one character asks another), and the movie itself, which is a dream mixed with a fable mixed with a chase thriller, if not a morality tale centered around the River Styx. If there was a disappointment I had at the time, it was the movie's pace, or maybe it's conventional structure, but I can't imagine that to really be that upsetting considering how its creeps up in my mind from time to time, one image after another, reminding me of what an original Greene is, of how his style is unmatched, and of how movies like this, flaws or no, are the reason I love modern moviemaking.
3 people found this helpful
Jo L.Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie!!!!!!
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As far as Undertow, The movie is great!!!!!!! I loved it!!!!!! The film takes place in Georgia!!!! Just a tiny bit intense for some scenes, but other than that, the movie is great!!!!!! The great part about this movie is the fact that it has one of my all time favorite actors in it (Dermot Mulroney) and I believe Dermot Mulroney did a great job in this movie!!!!! I also have a few of his other movies too.. Big Miracle, Space Warriors and Career Opportunities, all of which are great movies!!!!!!!!
One person found this helpful
W. G. WiltfongReviewed in the United States on June 18, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
What a surprise
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A real thought-provoking film full of stories of people that seem grounded, believable, relatable, and real. It's about how these people deal with the terrible things that happen to them, and the terrible things they do. Like in a person's life, it's hard to find any answers as to why. It'll really stick with you.
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