Director Jeff Nichols has crafted a really fascinating and in some scenes really beautiful film about two young lads from Arkansas, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) living in and on the river who befriend the mysterious and charismatic drifter named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) who is looking for the love of his life, the femme fetale Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) whilst also escaping from… well that would be telling!
McConaughey commands much attention as the Southern good ol’ boy: handsome yet battered, charming and sinister, his self-confidence masking over a history of bad luck and trouble.
The film sits within long-established storytelling traditions, think Whistle Down the Wind, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and Stand by Me. There are also strong supporting father-figure types, fleshed out with a bunch of great character actors: Ray McKinnon, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard and Joe Don Baker who all add to the brilliantly observed rites of passage tale.
The dialogue is spot on, the tone is perfect, and the locations are sumptuous. Everything feels so natural and lived in. ‘Mud’ is funny, tense, romantic, dramatic story about an America that is disappearing and about love…