Directed by: Carolyn Miller | 95 minutes | drama, thriller | Actors: Jason Clarke, Lake Bell, Clifton Collins Jr., Ken Howard, Frankie Ingrassia, Jason Biondo, Erin Calahan, Jalisa Davis, Christena Doggrell, Christopher Harris, Craig Hawksley, Patrick Killoran, Gerald J. Lange Jr., Tony Michilak, Patrick Miller, Erik A. Williams
A brooding thriller set largely in a Missouri lake mansion after Andrew (Jason Clarke) and his wife Charlie (Lake Bell) pick up biker Jacob (Clifton Collins Jr.) after knocking him off his socks. have driven. A fascinating triangular game develops between the protagonists, which is told by director Carolyn Miller in an intriguing way despite limited resources. Miller also wrote the screenplay, according to the old film law for this genre that the event that sets in motion the film (in this case the “collision” of Jacob), is not based on mere coincidence. And that is not the case here either, in that respect ‘Still Waters’ (internationally distributed under the title ‘Under Still Waters’) offers no surprises. But the exact how and what the makers keep to themselves for a long time.
The story cannot be called original, because this film is full of enigmatic encounters that are revealed through flashbacks, with or without a “twist” in the last quarter of the film. But what ‘Under Still Waters’ mainly succeeds in is to create credible characters and play them off against each other. The three protagonists are not really known in our country – and in the film world as a whole, but all three of them convince in what could have become easy stereotypical roles. Clarke has been perfectly cast as the icy-cold Andrew, which must have been nice for Lake Bell as his wife Charlie to face with her fiery temper. The trio is completed by Clifton Collins Jr., As the mysterious stranger who suddenly appears in their lives.
As befits a good thriller, the tension build-up is fine. Andrew and Charlie’s marriage seems to be in trouble early in the movie. Charlie pushes her husband to take a job in the company of her father Conrad (Ken Howard), a wealthy beer tycoon. Andrew is an architect, but refuses to design new beer factories. As Andrew becomes increasingly withdrawn, Charlie turns to alcohol and pills and flirtatious behavior to break the boredom. With the arrival of Jacob, an explosive mix is created, which is well portrayed by the three actors. The menacing and ominous music of composer Tom Hiel is beautifully used in the cold shots of Matthew Irving’s camera. The images of the deserted lake, the forest and the house have something oppressive, a sign that the makers understand their trade.
Wrongly ignored film, because ‘Under Still Waters’ certainly rises above the average thriller. In any case, the limited budget has not been an obstacle to making an exciting film, but the lack of bigger names may have played tricks on the film. Incidentally, Lake Bell won the prize for best actress at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Her fellow players had actually deserved that honor.