Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Sam Shepard
Synopsis: 14 year-old friends Ellis (Sheridan) and Neckbone (Lofland) befriend a mysterious stranger named Mud (McConaughey), when they find him hidden away in the woods along the riverbank where Ellis lives. They endeavour to help reunite him with his girlfriend Juniper (Witherspoon), and escape the men who are chasing him.
What can I say? This is a slow-burner that takes a while to get going, but because it’s beautifully shot and the performances are heart-felt and engaging I didn’t mind. The two young leads, Sheridan and Lofland, are particularly impressive and even McConaughey (whom I usually cannot abide – just the thought of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days makes me feel bilious) puts on a good show, and thankfully he does most of his own acting rather than relying on his pecs to do it for him. I actually didn’t hate him in this, which really is saying something. It’s a shame they didn’t give Witherspoon more to do than look cute in denim hot pants though, but I guess that’s Hollywood.
They could have been brave with the ending, but I suppose that wouldn’t “test well” with American audiences, but all in all this really isn’t bad.
Final thoughts: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this as I’m not a McConaughey fan (did you pick up on that?) but with this and his other recent effort as the titular Killer Joe, maybe there’s hope yet. It’s a nice film to look at and the performances were, without exception, rather good.
I’m not sure this will stick in my mind, but there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours. Worth seeing.
Running time: 2 hrs 10 minutes
Directed by: Jeff Nichols