directed by David Gordon Green
USA 2004


The two boys live in a rural area of Georgia with their father. The older, Chris, is quietly building a reputation as a troublemaker; the younger, Tim, is an odd kid who eats mud and paint and explains he is "organizing my books by the way they smell." Their father John mourns his dead wife and keeps his boys so isolated that on his birthday Chris complains, "We can't even have friends. What kind of a birthday party is it with just the three of us?"

A fourth arrives. This is Deel, John's brother, fresh out of prison and harboring resentment. "I knew your mom first -- she was my girl," he tells Chris. Deel and John's father had a horde of Mexican gold coins with a legend attached to them: They belonged to the ferryman on the River Styx. Deel believes he should have inherited half of the coins and believes John has them hidden somewhere around the place.

If this sounds as much like a Brothers Grimm tale as a plot, that is the intention of David Gordon Green, the gifted director of "Undertow." Still only 29, he has made three films of considerable power and has achieved what few directors ever do: After watching one of his films for a scene or two, you know who directed it. His style has been categorized as "Southern Gothic," but that's too narrow. I sense a poetic merging of realism and surrealism; every detail is founded on fact and accurate observation, but the effect appeals to our instinct for the mythological. This fusion is apparent when his characters say something that (a) sounds exactly as if it's the sort of thing they would say, but (b) is like nothing anyone has ever said before. I'm thinking of lines like, "He thinks about infinity. The doctor says his brain's not ready for it." Or "Can I carve my name in your face?"

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at the Chicago-Sun Times located HERE


Theatrical Release: 14 May 2004 - Cannes

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DVD Review: MGM - Region 1 - NTSC

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Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:48:00

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.84 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (DD 5.1), Spanish (DD 2.0), Portuguese (DD2.0)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with Director David Gordon Green and Jamie Bell
• 'Under the Undertow' - making of featurette with optional Josh Lucas intro
• Deleted Scenes
• Animated Photo Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: April 26, 2005
Keep Case - No Chapter Insert

Chapters 20





Comments This is a very nice DVD from MGM. It's a shame about the cover art though, especially when such a beautiful poster was available. More importantly this disc contains an excellent transfer and some substantial extras.

To start, the image is clear and sharp with some amazing colours. My screen caps do not do the photography in this film any justice. Detail is very good and any softness in the image is clearly intentional. While taking the screen caps I did notice some slight ghosting in the image which is not visible on a proper DVD player. Given that this is a brand new film the audio is obviously clear and clean, but is not overly impressive. The disc contains a really great commentary with David Gordon Green and Jamie Bell which I enjoy very much. The making of featurette was entertaining as well.

Overall a very good effort from MGM and a film well worth checking out, especially for fans of David Green's other films.

 - Mark Balson



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