Mean Creek Reviews
Rory Culkin, the only well-known actor in the cast, gives by far the best performance, but he does not have much dialogue. (If you want to see a masterful performance from a child actor, see Culkin's work in 2000's "You Can Count on Me," filmed when he was just 10.)
The story is set in a small town in Oregon, where a troubled boy takes out his anxiety and frustration on his peers, walloping them and berating them with almost no provocation. Several kids, with aid from their bored older brothers, scheme to give this boy his comeuppance. But surprises come when the group starts to see that this bully is really disabled. Gradually it also becomes clear that the supposed good kids humiliate each other verbally in as sadistic a way as the bully does. Estes appears to be making a point about the ubiquitous sadism that plagues youth culture.
The film gets quite dramatic when the bullying teen goes out of control and tragedy strikes. But I found the increase in drama rather predictable. Yet it was interesting to ponder how rivalries between children often get right up to the threshold of violence. Why do so many of our children become bloodthirsty vis-a-vis their peers? Estes has thoughtful questions but hasn't yet mastered the cinematic medium through which he can explore them. But he is a filmmaker to watch. His next film, "The Details," is due in 2010 and stars Tobey Maguire.
Starring: Rory Culkin, Scott Mechlowicz, Ryan Kelley, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, Carly Schroeder.
"And speaking of dead....fathers, I just remembered why bonehead white-trash fucking donkey-dick Marty got so fucking freaked when I started talking about his "daddy". His Neanderthal, drunk dad, put a gun in his mouth and splattered his brains all over the wall. You know, I almost forgot that my mom told me that. She said, "His daddy splattered his brains all over the wall." I thought it was sad at first. But now....I like it....His daddy splattered his brains all over the wall....His daddy splattered his brains all over the wall...."
Mean Creek is a revelation and a complete change from the crap we are fed in films today and it just shows that we can always depend on independent films. I can't compare the films to others, but from what I have read, it certainly echoes films like Deliverance and Stand by Me. It rises in so many areas that other 'teenager dramas' fall, instead of being completely derivative, out of focus and underdeveloped, Mean Creek is so unexpectedly suspenseful, thoughtful and very well developed. You would think with the first hour being a build up to the certain event, but Jacob Aaron Estes focuses and builds on his characters, he makes them more than cliché as you would probably expect in a film with such a topic, he makes them whole, human and likable. He touches upon many true themes of teenage life, from bullying to moral decisions and he never lets up on making us feel for every one of these characters. A big surprise was acting, who would have thought that a film where its main characters average an age of around 17, could actually deliver very strong performances by every one of its young stars who all show major potential as brilliant actors/actresses in 10 years. I do have one slight problem with the film though, as soon as the suspense lets, we are introduced to the final act and everything seems very rushed and although I would have liked to have seen where things led, the sudden ending certainly fits the mood of the film.
Like I mentioned, although the film seems to rush the final 10 minutes and end so suddenly, the first 80 are surprisingly suspenseful and thoughtful and we are introduced to some brilliant little actors and some familiar faces. If Hollywood ever turns to complete shit, as least we know that we can believe in independent cinema and its brilliance. An Independent Gem.
The film handles the whole bully situaition well and will remind a lot of people how tough life can be as a young kid growing up and going through school.
[font=Century Gothic]"Mean Creek" is a thoughtful take on masculinity(the slur of choice tends to be homophobic in nature). One of the main themes is that a person cannot be judged until you get to know them. The movie is completely believable with very good acting by its young cast. There is a bit of letdown in the last third of the movie. [/font]