Excerpt: Mud sees writer-director Jeff Nichols straining to straddle two disparate sets of genre requirements: those of the magical-realist backwoods fable and the soppy heartland melodrama. Its closest relatives are Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter and Elia Kazan's Wild River , but shot through with the "gritty" vision of cruddy home life and bayou listlessness of Lance Hammer's Ballast .
Excerpt: Praise must be given to actor Matthew McConaughey. He has begun to take on more challenging roles. This is a welcome change from the more disposable romantic comedies he starred in over the past several years. I enjoyed his performances in The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe and The Paperboy to name a few. Here he plays the title character. Mud lives out in the woods and is waiting to reunite with an old girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) so he can take off.
Conclusion: Jeff Nichols' 2011 film 'Take Shelter' may have been snubbed by the Academy, but there's no way that they can dismiss his new film 'Mud.' In every aspect of filmmaking – writing, directing, acting, screenplay, music, cinematography, and so on – it's superb, nearly flawless. The entire package is so impressive that I truly believe it should be written in the books as an American classic. On the surface, it's a coming-of-age tale filled with genuine characters and moments.
Conclusion: Having reviewed several of Matthew McConaughey's "Southern Fried Gothic" films of the recent past, I wasn't quite sure how I would feel about Mud . Though perhaps regionally linked to some of these other films (albeit somewhat tenuously), Mud is a much "kinder, gentler" approach toward the South than Killer Joe or The Paperboy .
Excerpt: The following conversation happened before I went to sleep last night: My wife: "Don't dream about Matthew McConaughey while you sleep." Me: "Why would I?" My wife: "I don't know, I just feel like everyone dreams about Matthew McConaughey when they sleep." I remain curious as to what would spur a mini-discussion like this on.
Excerpt: Writer-director Jeff Nichols has made a name for himself crafting complex character-driven dramas like Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter that feature smoldering performances from Michael Shannon. For his latest venture Mud , Nichols took on some new challenges, moving his reliable leading man to a supporting role, and focusing his drama on an optimistic and earnest young boy. The results are intriguing, but at times perplexing.
Excerpt: “His name is mud” isn’t a likely expression for a film to make literal, but writer-director Jeff Nichols—whose previous film, Take Shelter, repeatedly featured the protagonist and his family taking shelter—doesn’t shy away from bluntness or directness. Yes, Matthew McConaughey is Mud, a laconic ne’er-do-well hiding from the authorities on a small island off the Southern coast after killing a man in anger.