Mud: A Jeff Nichols gem

(older movie reviews with a fresh coat of paint)

Matthew McConaughey anchors a fine cast that elevates a simple tale about the innocence of kids and the sins of men.  Set in Arkansas, Mud takes you on a good ride.  Director Jeff Nichols tale hits like a real and personal journey and the viewer is sucked into the dangerous adventurous dark world of Arkansas.  McConaughey once again slips into the skin of a beast he hasn’t approached often in his past yet is starting to bite into more in the twilight of his career.

Roadside Attractions

Mud isn’t a perfect man and is full of tricks yet the work of McConaughey pulls us into his story. The kids are played with their own dose of innocence but the best supporting performance here comes from Ray McKinnon, who plays Ellis’ troubles father.  

McKinnon is a best kept secret in the movie business and this is his coming out party. Sheridan and McKinnon share three dynamically played scenes that cut right through the struggles of fathers to pass down their own hardships to their children while showing love. McKinnon cuts deep and is a source of strength in a coming of age tale.  Reese Witherspoon is fine in a small yet pivotal role as the object of Mud’s affections. Mud carries elements of a drama, comedy and a thriller and is helped by the seedy jewel of Arkansas and shot well.

The movie is an acting showcase but without the lovely dangers of DeWitt, Arkansas serving as a beacon of support, the film would be less.  Like it’s title character, the movie keeps an era of mystery up until its final shot and serves the film right.  The plot carries a few loose threads but is sewn up right. The boys and Mud form a reliable and tense friendship that spins the final act into motion and brings a fitting if not shiny end to all the stories. A highly enjoyable film for all adults.

Here’s a clip:


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