Mean Creek

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck
Director: Jacob Aaron Estes

Ever hear that old saying that what goes around comes around? Sam (Rory Culkin) is a young teenager in an average American town and as is the case in most communities these days there is normally one kid who is a little too rough around the edges, in other words a bully.

Like Sam, George (Josh Peck) is also a teenager but he is the local bully and Sam has just been added to his list of victims for the crime of touching George’s beloved video camera. Sam’s elder brother Rocky (Trevor Morgan) and his friends find out about Sam’s run in with George and decide to teach him a little lesson and that is the exact point when the whole situation starts to turn into something much more serious than simple revenge.

The storyline is a bit similar to a film called BULLY, which as you may have guessed is also about a bully and his time of reckoning, but whereas that film is based on fact this one is entirely based on fictitious events. The film doesn’t waste much time, it immediately starts off by briefly establishing the character traits of the aggressor or bully and his most current victim by playing out a playground scene that shows the bully ferociously attacking his victim right there in the open. It then goes on to slightly develop the other characters as well.

The film’s idea itself is quite straightforward, but what makes it interesting are the extremely competent performances from the young cast. Rory Culkin is outstanding in his role as the essentially good kid who finds himself in a situation that he partially initiated but chose not to follow through with. Carly Schroeder gives another good performance as a teenager who finds herself in a predicament when circumstances spiral out of control, which she would never have agreed to had she known beforehand what was going to happen. Scott Mechlowicz, playing the only character who persistently pursues their original plan despite his friends requesting him to call it off, is disturbingly excellent and definitely a star on the rise. Performances from the rest of the supporting cast are also equally good.

Competently helmed by first time writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes, it is a drama/thriller that shows how even the nicest of people can wish the worst on someone when they are pushed, and push comes to shove. This issue is highlighted in a pivotal scene that happens at a point when all the characters in the film are just about to appreciate George as a person but then after he is aggravated, he unleashes a barrage of very personal insults that are so offensive that you could almost condone what happens to him next.

4 out of 6 stars