Tuesday, July 30, 2013

[Review] Mud

Two young boys encounter a fugitive named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) hiding on a small island in the Mississippi River. Apprehensive at first, the boys form a pact to help him evade bounty hunters and capture from local authorities; and also to reunite him with his true love.   

This is the second feature from director Jeff Nichols. And like his previous film Take Shelter I absolutely loved this heart warming coming-of-age story. But this is going to be a fairly short review because as much as I loved this film I’m struggling with what to say about it. I had the same trouble with Take Shelter, so there seems to be a very strong indescribable quality about Jeff Nichol’s style of film-making.

I completely lost myself in this film. You know you’re watching something truly great when you don’t look up at the clock once and pretty much lose all sense of time.  That’s what the plot and story of Mud allowed me to do. It’s so captivating and it has a very real and genuine quality; it’s a slice of life that captures the essence of adolescents, its desires and the anxiety.  

The film’s central character is 14 year old Ellis, one of the two boys I mentioned above. He is played brilliantly by Tye Sheridan. Ellis’s life is drastically changing and not in the way he wants. He is struggling to deal with the pending separation of his parents, losing his home and the strong value he holds for love, loyalty and friendship are being tested by those around him. His friendship with Mud that is one of the most beautiful things about this film as we see it from Elli’s point of view along with the world in general. He’s able to look past the fact the Mud is a criminal; he’s simply helping someone who needs it because it’s the decent thing to do.

The acting is the finest you can get, not one bad performance. The Matthew McConaughey comeback continues and shows no sign of stopping. He’s one of those actors who get better and better with age; he’s so good as Mud. The supporting cast include Reese Witherspoon, who I much prefer seeing in serious roles like this as she’s clearly a very capable actress; also Sam Shepard who gives a reserved performance but has great presence. And lastly Michael Shannon in minor role, who is one of my favourite actors working today.  

Mud is an absolute must see as far as I’m concerned. It’s raw and pure film-making that’s reminiscent of 70s cinema. It’s beautifully shot America’s South and it’s without a doubt one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve had in a long time.     

By Kevin Bechaz

Credit Where Credit's Due

Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer(s): Jeff Nichols
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan, Sam Shepard
Runtime: 130 minutes
Release Date(s): USA: January 19, 2013 

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