Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I can’t say that I am the biggest fan of Matthew McConaughey, but I have to at least give him kudos for being such an unpredictable actor as of lately. He has had enough roles in the past to warrant a stereotype (awright, awright, awrriiiight), but I’ve come to appreciate his latest works for what they are. One such film that has obtained positive ratings across the board is Mud. I’m known to sometimes disagree with the general population on well-loved or hated films. This time around, I agreed…generally speaking. I will admit; however, that there were aspects to Mud that I didn’t really enjoy.
Two young boys by the names of Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are the bestest of friends living along the Mississippi River. One day, the boys take a motorboat across the river to a lone island where they find a boat stuck in a tree. They find out a mysterious man by the name of Mud (Matthew McConaughey) has been living in the boat, and they quickly befriend him. He has been waiting to meet up with his old girlfriend, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). So they decide to help him by sending messages out to Juniper. Everything changes when they learn that he is a fugitive that blood-thirsty bounty hunters are out on the prowl for.
I can’t even watch this movie without seeing Mark Twain’s influence. Twain was known for his love of the Mississippi River, and the two trouble-making boys can easily be seen as Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, Twain is a classic, and his stories will be read until the end of time. If there can be a movie that will remind you of a timeless classic, then that is a good thing.
This film was defined as a coming-of-age movie…and I am having a difficult time analyzing how it is coming-of-age. There is usually a louder-than-life moral to the story; some life lesson that must be learned by the two young boys. All I could come up with is “with action comes consequence” and “life is full of disappointments”, and that’s saying a lot. Instead, what I saw was a plot, however weak it was. The plot of course, was Mud trying to get Juniper away from the harassment of the bounty hunters and run away with him. However, the focus was on the kids, which is why it was weak. The plot was never really meant to be the focus, so maybe that’s why they call it coming-of-age.
Almost every review you will find on Mud will talk about how beautiful the movie really looked, and this will be no exception. The movie was shot well, without a doubt. You will be able to tell with the first five minutes that the movie had a great visionary behind the cinematography. The look was able to maintain the tone and overall feel of what the film was going for. You won’t see me complaining about what the movie looked like.
The acting was superb. McConaughey and both the kids shined in this film. It is their performances that make the length of Mud manageable, because you can’t get enough of them. Their chemistry together makes you think that they have worked together before, and for children actors, that’s hard to accomplish.
Overall, I liked the movie, but I can’t say that I loved it. It was interesting to watch, I’ll say that much. So, I’ll say that this film is a high rent on my radar, and definitely should be one to check out when it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Aug. 6!
::what others had to say::
“It’s a film that dabbles in several areas yet it all comes together in a gripping story full of life and grit.”
– Keith and the Movies
“The story has a comfortable pace and it knows where it wants to go”
– Daniel’s Film Reviews
“McConaughey delivers, perhaps, his best performance to date, and seeing him struggle both mentally, physically, and emotionally really pulls at your heart strings. “
– The Cinematic Katzenjammer