Mean Creek (2004)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama


Mean Creek (2004) Poster

When a teen is bullied, his brother and friends lure the bully into the woods to seek revenge.


7.2/10
29,563

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  • Chris Pratt at an event for Mean Creek (2004)
  • Jacob Estes at an event for Mean Creek (2004)
  • Mean Creek (2004)
  • Ryan Kelley at an event for Mean Creek (2004)
  • Ryan Kelley at an event for Mean Creek (2004)
  • Rory Culkin in Mean Creek (2004)

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1 September 2004 | flickershows
8
| 'Deliverance' For The Truth Or Dare Crowd
'Mean Creek' is 'Deliverance' for the Truth Or Dare crowd. John Boorman's 1972 thriller about a canoe trip gone wrong had a sense of reality and inevitability that redeemed the horrific violence. The film didn't flinch and no one escaped with a happy ending. Feature-film newcomer Jacob Aaron Estes' prank-gone-too-far morality tale isn't as riveting as 'Deliverance', but his 'Mean Creek' hits many of the same haunting notes. He skillfully uses guilt and paranoia as weapons. Just ask Nixon...it's not the crime, it's the cover-up.

The only cast member I've heard of is Rory Culkin, who reinforces the notion that he's the best actor in his family. Sam (Culkin) and 4 others (his potential girlfriend, his big brother, and 2 friends) have conned the local bully into joining them on a boating trip. They're planning to trick him into stripping off his clothes, then they'll make him run home naked. The girl (Carly Schroeder) doesn't discover this plan until she's already in the boat, but she convinces the boys to call it off. After all, George the bully (Josh Peck) is just a fat fool who might even be a nice guy.

Ah, but a good film never lets its characters off the hook that easily. Our Greek tragedies dictate that there would be no film (certainly not one called 'Mean Creek') if they all just lived happily yadda yadda. George doesn't deserve this treatment, but he's not perfectly innocent either. Actually, he's askin' for it. What eventually happens to him might not be deliberate, but how will the kids explain their actions? It doesn't help that George has been recording most of the trip on a video camera.

The skilled child actors are allowed to play smart characters. They give naturalistic performances and say real things. Estes' perceptive script doesn't let ANYONE off the hook because there's a lot of blame to go around. George isn't the only bully, after all. 'Mean Creek' is a fairly simple story told with a series of complex layers. Humiliation, vengeance, a waking nightmare, no heroes or villains...the film is filled with themes. In the final thirty minutes, the characters are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. For such a child-filled movie, this is a grown-up story.

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