Monday, August 27, 2012

Movie of the Week – Mean Creek

This week’s movie is Mean Creek (2004).

The drama is about a bunch of teens that decide to get even with a local bully, inviting him along on a boat trip in rural Oregon with a plan of vengeance. The film is the feature debut from writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes (someone I thought had a very bright future when this came out, but has yet to have another film picked up). He worked with composer tomandandy, cinematographer Sharone Meir and production designer Greg McMickle. The film has a very naturalistic approach, which works really well with the subject matter and impact of the drama. The young actor are also wonderful. It features Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, and Carly Schroeder. Thematically, it is similar to Larry Clark’s Bully and Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, but not as graphic. Mean Creek is all the more tragic as it does not start out as a mean spirited film or with the intention of going dark – but things just do not go the way they are planned for the characters taking them down a dark path. It beautifully portrays realistic teenage characters – naïve, innocent and yet still with the capability of immense cruelty. While there is a clear bully character that the rest of the characters want to get back at, things are never that simple, as delving deeper into the characters and narrative reveals that many of the characters are both bully and victim depending on the circumstances. The film is quite powerful as it addresses morals, coping with tragedy and other adult issues forced on teens (many of them very young). It is one of the best truly indie dramas of the past decade. It is well worth checking out for fans of good dramas. Check out the trailer.

Available on DVD and Streaming

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