Yesterday while couch ridden with some sonic death flu, I watced a few movies that I will write about over this week. One was Undertow, directed by David Gordon Green. I am gonna make no secret here before going any further that David Gordon Green is already one of my favorite directors. All the Real Girls and George Washington were two of the best films I've seen in the past five to ten years. So, what about Undertow?
This is probably my least favorite of the 3 David Gordon Green films I have seen. And that said, it is still great. I will watch this numerous times. Without giving away to much of the plot, two sons live on a rural Georgia farm with their widowed father. The existence of the family doesn't seem to be a happy one. Dermont Mulrooney plays the father and has a very cold repoire with his sons. Chris is the older one, and at the beginning of the movie we see him attempting to romance a young girl and also gettuiing in a bit of trouble. Tim is the younger son, and he eats paint, throws p and apparently has health problems. I wonder why. Eventually, Uncle Deel comes to town, fresh out of prison. He is invited by the father to stay with them, keep an eye on the boys and help around teh house in exchange for food. Deel still harbors resentment against his brother from their younger days, though he initially masks it well this is where the conflict in the film begins.
There are many moments that make this a typical David Gordon Green film. Based in the rural south, the scenery is as much a character as any living breathing person. The dialogue has it's quintessential moments, "Can I carve my name in your face?" the young girl asks Chris. Tim has a 2 minute speech on chiggers. There is a whole lot of mysticism surrounding the story as well, that may be specific to the south. It reminds me in a way of Faulkner or Flannery O'Connor, or even a much darker Walker Percy.
This fim isn't for everyone. It's dark, there is more than a fair share of violence, you wonder in the end if you were supposed to learn or take away anything from this. But for some reason, it still sticks with you.
I await future films by David Gordon Green with a bit of excitement. This was his least critically acclaimed film with reason I suppose, but I still very much enjoyed it. I notice that he has a movie filming now called Snow Angels and though the plot summary is extremely vegue, from what I've seen of his work so far, I hope this its theaters sooner rather than later.