Friday, 18 July 2008

Mean Creek

Every now and again, you stumble across a DVD movie at the library that you notice by chance, realising you've never heard of it before, but think, "Hmmm, this looks kinda interesting".

Do yourselves a favour... go out and find a copy and watch 2004's "Mean Creek", directed by Jacob Aaron Estes. It's that good.

This is definitely not your average stereotypical teen coming-of-age flick. This is ART! I watched it this morning, and I love it, first of all for it's staggeringly-awesome ensemble cast.
"... This is an intelligent, engaging movie buoyed by some of the best acting by young actors this year. Writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes, who won a 1998 Nicholl Fellowship in Screen writing for his script, takes the basic premise of revenge against a school bully and turns it into a moving and gripping film.

Given the subject matter, "Mean Creek" could easily have been another after-school special masquerading as an indie feature. But Estes eschews the conventions of the genre to give his characters unexpected depth and create an engrossing morality play. None of his characters is a caricature; they're all flawed and unmistakably human. The moral issues they face are real and complex; the crises they create are dealt with expertly.

What's special about "Mean Creek" are its fine young actors. Culkin again is convincing as a skittish young boy being picked on by the school bully, but the two startlingly brilliant performances are by Josh Peck as the bully George, and Carly Schroeder as Millie, the young girl unexpectedly dragged into the plot.

Peck makes George captivating when he could just as easily made him a typical, one-note bully. Peck gives George substance and turns on the charm so well that we understand the others' reluctance to go through with exacting his comeuppance. George becomes likable, someone who seems to resort to bullying to hide inadequacies of his own. Peck draws us into his character; we feel sympathy for someone who is supposed to be unsympathetic.

Young Schroeder is downright extraordinary. Her Millie is mature way beyond her years. She serves as the group's moral core and Schroeder's scenes in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy are so astonishingly raw, you're likely to forget she's a young teen actress. Hers is one of the best supporting performances the year.

"Mean Creek" is one of the best coming-of-age films. All teenagers and their parents should see this, despite its R rating. It's unfortunate the MPAA gave "Mean Creek" an R rating because despite the use of the F-word, "Mean Creek" is far less offensive than much of the PG-13-rated garbage, and provides more enjoyment and insight into human behavior in five minutes than almost any mainstream movie playing right now..." (Source)
I was staggered by 13-year-old Carly Schroeder's acting. She's a young cute kid, but has acting abilities way beyond her years. Some of the shots of her towards the end of the film are truly memorable stuff.
Peas be with ewe

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  1. I will definately get that mocie out - here is one I just watched - its a bit of a namby pamby love story - but its so beautiful...I cried ofetn in this and smiled as much...Called "August Rush" you love music - you will love this I hope.

  2. Something for me to find to watch on my own this week I think :)