UNDERTOW (2018) Reviews and overview

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‘Pleasure, pain, control’

Undertow is a 2018 Australian thriller about a woman who is suspicious of her husband’s relationship with a pregnant teenager.

Written and directed by Miranda Nation and produced by Lyn Norfor, the Emerald Productions movie stars Olivia Dejonge, Josh Helman, Laura Gordon and Rob Collins.


Grieving the loss of her stillborn baby, Claire meets pregnant teenager Angie. Feisty and irrepressible, Angie challenges Claire’s careful control. Drawn into Angie’s world, Claire develops a dangerous obsession that risks both of their lives. Only when Claire is confronted with the terrible secret behind Angie’s pregnancy can both women begin to heal…


“It’s a compelling psychological film about feminine issues that is filled with pertinent Australian background lore. Universal women issues are boldly tackled by getting to the inner forces (the undertow) that compel women to act out the way they are wired. The needy and self-absorbed Claire might be obsessive but is directionless, while the also creepy and aimless Angie might be strong but in her youth is naive.” Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

“How Claire’s grief manifests, impairing her grasp on what is real and what is not, allows Undertow to offer insight into the complexity of bodily trauma — a trait shared, but expressed differently, with Angie. Nation empowers this real-versus-imaginary trope to jolt Claire back into the present; it’s a feat that positions Claire’s grief as debilitating as it is frequent.” Screen Realm

“First-time feature director Miranda Nation has created a substantially deep and very meaningful story of women dealing with issues related to loss and male insecurity […] The beautiful southern coastline of Victoria provides the raw setting for this emotional drama and while the story is thin, the themes of vulnerability leading to temptation of the drastic kind are heartfelt.” A Sliver of Film

“As a first film, Undertow is an impressive debut. It’s a thoughtful, well-shot psychological drama that uses the natural beauty of its coastal setting to provide scope for symbolic interpretation and pull viewers down into its dark depths.” Switch.

“Nation is unafraid to muddy the waters with a dreamy eroticism and a really uncomfortable mix of grief and sex.  It’s a brave, difficult and nebulous film with shifting sympathies and slippery morality […] Undertow deserves to be a breakout.  It deserves to be seen by the widest possible audience.” The Wee Review

Cast and characters:

Olivia DeJonge … Angie
Josh Helman … Brett
Laura Gordon … Claire
Rob Collins … Dan
Damian Hill … Percy
Darci McDonald … Lisa
Chris Gibson … Doctor Mckenna
Chris Gonsalves … Support Group Member
Christopher Farrell … Journalist
Catherine Larcey … Angie’s Mum
Josh Hayes … Support Group Member
Lesley-Caron Veater … Party Guest
Martin Blum … Darren
Tim K Williams … Brett’s Friend
Slavko Zwirn … Javid


Undertow will be released on Digital and On-Demand by Trinity Creative Partnership on March 2, 2021.

Technical details:

96 minutes

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