During my screening of Mean Creek, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do if I was in the same situation as the teenagers in the film. I kept thinking of what my options would be, what the risks were. In other words, I found myself drawn into the narrative of the film so completely I began thinking like the characters. This is quite an engrossing little film.

Part of the film’s strength is its realism: the characters and settings seem wholly authentic. Very rarely do films accurately portray the demeanor and language of teenagers, but Mean Creek is spot-on. The performances are amazing and naturalistic; no-one comes off as an actor. The weakest of the bunch, however, is Josh Peck as George: his performance, though good, never really rings as true as those of the other principles.

The writer/director creates a tense, streamlined story with little affect and embellishment. We’re shown exactly what we need to see; no more, no less. It’s refreshing to see such efficient filmmaking.

Mean Creek asks hard questions and doesn’t offer easy solutions for the characters or the viewer.