Mud Movie Review
From the writer/director of Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter comes Mud, which stars Matthew McConaughey as a wanted fugitive who is befriended by two teenage boys who agree to help him elude a group of bounty hunters and reunite him with his on-and-off girlfriend while evading poisonous snakes and angry parents. Mud is Jeff Nichols' most accessible and entertaining movie to date, but it's also the least memorable.
McConaughey, who has seen a resurgence in popularity and film quality since 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer, turns in a fine performance as the title character, a charismatic but troubled individual who appears as though he's going to burst at any minute (unfortunately he doesn't). Almost newcomer Tye Sheridan matches McConaughey step for step, however, making Mud one of the best acted movies of 2013 so far.
Reese Witherspoon is also in the movie, but doesn't do a whole lot. Michael Shannon is even less utilized.
Mud presents an unpredictable premise that thrives on various subplots and themes, with an emphasis on love and relationships. At times, Mud is about two kids who have befriended a hobo; at others, it's about young love; and at even others, it's a thriller about some trigger-friendly bounty hunters. You never know where it's going to go, and that's refreshing.
But just because Mud is unpredictable doesn't mean it fires on all cylinders. The story is sort of interesting, but it's also convoluted. What's the point of Mud? That love can grow and fade over time? If so, the story at hand is a very strange way to express such a theme.
Then again, this is Jeff Nichols we're talking about.
Mud is a generally good movie with proper pacing and strong performances, but it lacks the edge that Take Shelter (a film that I found to be extremely slow at times) had, the edge necessary to make such a film memorable.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.