Tuesday, May 16, 2006

UNDERTOW - There are some things we just don't need to see

Josh Lucas mud-wrestling a squealing pig, his pale ass-cheeks wobbling over the top of his muddy britches. No, sir. We also do not need to see inferior remakes of cinematic classics, no matter what the pedigree of the director. No matter how impressive David Gordon Green's first two films were, there is no excuse for this blatant rip-off of The Night of the Hunter. In this version, Dermot Mulroney plays John Munn, the father of two kids, living in the backwoods of Georgia in savage conditions. One day his younger brother Deel Munn, played by Josh Lucas, shows up. He's after some old Mexican coins that Mulroney inherited from his father. This being one of Green's trademark "Southern Gothic" flicks, the fight for the coins soon turns violent. So the two kids abscond, chased by their sinister, murdering Uncle. Now, despite my deep scepticism as to the point of remaking (broadly speaking) The Night of the Hunter, there is a lot to like about UNDERTOW. Apart from Josh Lucas, the cast is outstanding. In particular, Jamie Bell and Devon Alan are captivating as the two young Munn boys. The evocation of mood - from photography to Philip Glass' score - is also first class. However, whenever Josh Lucas appeared on screen I was totally taken out of the movie thanks to his hammy over-acting. He plays menacing by opening his eyes *really* wide and getting all shouty in the manner of Al Pacino's more hammy performances. And when he starts on his sinister rampage he just reminded me of Jason Lee in My Name is Earl. And that's about as menacing as the English pace attack. (i.e. not very.) To sum up, there are worse looking films out on DVD this week, but I doubt if any are more frustratingly mis-cast.

UNDERTOW screened at London 2004 and went on limited release in the UK last autumn. It was released on DVD yesterday.


  1. Went to see U Carmen - as you suggested - review on my site!

  2. Nice photo, Bina. Presumably you mean the hair and moustache combo. reminds you of Jason Lee rather than the sinister rampaging part?