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USA: Paramount Classics
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, Carly Schroeder, Branden Williams, Raissa Fleming, Heath Lourwood, Ryan Peterson, Michael Fisher-Welsh, James W Crawford, Shelly Lipkin, Kaz Garas, Hagai Shaham
Director: Jacob Aaron Estes
USA & UK: 87 mins
USA Rated: R for language, sexual references, teen drug and alcohol use
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and moderate sex references
USA Release Date: 20 August 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 29 April 2005
First-time writer/director, Jacob Aaron Estes' Mean Creek turns the classic tale of an American bully on its head. When a group of bold, yet trustworthy kids seek playful revenge on the bully who has tormented them, nothing turns out the way they expected. What begins as a trip down a river and a childish prank soon turns into an eye-opening encounter with the enemy - a harrowing journey into wilderness and an event that will force them to grapple with the very meaning of friendship and responsibility.
With MEAN CREEK, Estes won the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for his script. Most recently the film was awarded the Humanitas Award for a Sundance feature film. This cast of rising young stars have created not only a suspenseful morality tale but a rare and revealing portrait of a new generation - capturing the swagger and hidden insecurities, the posing and the yearning to fit in, the savvy and the barely contained aggression and, perhaps most of all, today's fierce search for moral ground without any clear compasses. Using a handheld camera and a raw, visceral visual style that sets the audience adrift with the characters, the film provides a gritty, authentic and thought-provoking peek into growing up.
It all begins in a small Oregon town, when shy Sam (Rory Culkin) confesses to his protective older brother Rocky (Trevor Morgan) that he is getting pummeled daily by the towering school bully George (Joshua Peck). Together, they plan the perfect payback, inviting George on a birthday river trip tailor-made to end in the bully's humiliation. Rocky's pals Clyde and Marty (Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz) and Sam's budding girlfriend Millie (Carly Schroeder) also join the journey, which starts almost immediately with misgivings. Seeing George in a new light, as a lonely kid desperate for friendship and attention, Sam wants to call the whole thing off. Yet the boat and the plot are already in motion, and no one can foresee the surprises and accidents that are to come.