Undertow

Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
Watch On
  1. 100
    Green takes us to that place where we keep feelings that we treasure, but are a little afraid of.
  2. Despite a few narrative confusions, I found it pure magic.
  3. For anyone who likes classic, offbeat American moviemaking, in the rural-thriller genre from "Moonrise" to "Macon County Jail," Undertow is one to check. Seething with violence, bleeding with lyricism, it's a poem from the junk heap, a cry from the swamp.
  4. The movie builds slowly to its grinding climax, and the suspense -- the standard by which a thriller must primarily be judged -- is first-rate.
  5. Taking great artistic chances in storytelling and performance style, Green finally fulfills the promise he showed in his fine 2000 drama "George Washington" as a terrific builder of mood, atmosphere, and psychological suspense.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    In equal parts powerful and peculiar, the film is not my favorite of Green’s, but it helps solidify his position as one of the most visionary young directors around.
  7. 75
    Conforms to many of the tropes of a formula thriller but, aided by an evocative Philip Glass score and Tim Orr's beautifully naturalistic cinematography, it transcends the genre.
  8. Undertow has the plain, stark, disturbing quality that marked the original "Cape Fear" and "In Cold Blood."
  9. 75
    Although there is violence and danger, this is less about the chase than it is about the relationship between the siblings.
  10. 75
    It's a dreamy Southern gothic, a la "Night of the Hunter," with an emphasis on the dreamy.
  11. 70
    Undertow may prove the least immediately satisfying of Green's films, but it remains an achievement, emotionally rich and rife with biblical and mythic undertones.
  12. 70
    However cloying, the movie creates a powerful vortex. It's surprisingly visceral-at times almost thrilling.
  13. As with the 70's films of Terrence Malick, one of Undertow's producers, the more intoxicated it becomes with rural desolation and fecundity, the more deeply in touch it puts you with its characters' souls.
  14. The result is a movie that doesn't add up to the sum of its parts, yet some of those parts connect deeply anyway.
  15. To call Undertow a '70s-style revenge movie is accurate, but those unfamiliar with Green who expect a typical genre picture may wonder why it takes so long to get to the action.
  16. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    70
    Green makes you think and his films are so quiet and subtle, you almost find yourself in the film, wrapped up in the moment.
  17. The truth is that Undertow is like a conventional Hollywood movie operating on half its cylinders.
  18. Did I fall in love with Undertow? Not in the least. But I liked it alright, and amidst the mediocrity, even rot, that constitutes 98% of contemporary American movies, that'll do fine.
  19. Green may be right to avoid the melodramatic waves of the conventional thriller. But, if so, he needs to dive a lot deeper than this -- there's just not enough under in Undertow.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 4 out of 17
  1. Nov 28, 2014
    7
    Undertow is one of those movies that you don't really know what's going on.Even if the movie is slow and we exactly know who the charactersUndertow is one of those movies that you don't really know what's going on.Even if the movie is slow and we exactly know who the characters are it stays difficult to understand the movie.The outside is beautiful and the actors are good but the little boy is annoying when he eats everything he sees. Full Review »
  2. Aug 19, 2011
    10
    I cannot understand the harsh negative reviews. Yeah, some of the scenes of the "Uncle Deel" could have been better but the movie belongs toI cannot understand the harsh negative reviews. Yeah, some of the scenes of the "Uncle Deel" could have been better but the movie belongs to the boys and I dare anyone not to be deeply touched them. Glass's score fitted like a glove. I was spellbound. Full Review »
  3. Oct 23, 2010
    5
    Not a bad movie by any stretch, and clearly the work of a talented filmmaker, but the pace was sluggish rather than thoughtful and I felt thatNot a bad movie by any stretch, and clearly the work of a talented filmmaker, but the pace was sluggish rather than thoughtful and I felt that at the end I was left more tired than breathless. Undertow may be worth seeing for the visuals, which are breathtaking, but the story and character are too thin. Full Review »