Mud (2013) | Movie Review


Release date: April 26, 2013 (limited)
Runtime: 2 hr. 10 min. 
MPAA rating: PG-13

And now for something completely different... I went to see a limited release movie. It wasn't only because the films released this past weekend didn't really interest me - I genuinely wanted to see Mud ever since I first saw the trailer. Unfortunately, limited releases can be hard to catch and I tend to forget when these movies come out because they don't hit every single theatre around. I must say, I'm incredibly glad I did not miss out on this one.

The first reaction I had was "this was what The Place Beyond the Pines  should have been." I know, this is a pretty random piece of feedback - the two films are nothing alike. However, in my mind the clash of generations and coming of age themes connected enough. Two Arkansas teenagers, Ellis and Neckbone, sneak away to an island on the Mississippi river to explore an abandoned boat stuck in the trees and find a strange man living there. The rough looking guy asks for food and, while Neckbone is hesitant, Ellis decides to help the man out. Soon the boys find out that the man, who calls himself Mud, is looking to reunite with the love of his life, but also that he is wanted for killing another man.

First and foremost, this film is absolutely fantastic. I'm not normally one to sing praises to gritty dramas, but I was 100% connected with this one. It's hard for me to even pinpoint what was so great about Mud. It was one of those films where I didn't wonder how the scenes were shot, didn't analyze the cinematography, didn't try to get inside the actors' brains - I was just along for the ride. I think that's what great storytelling does: it consumes you and holds you in from beginning to end.  

Mud felt incredibly true to life. I don't mean the overexposed realism that wallows in every grungy detail, which is something I rather dislike in film. What I'm talking about is a balance of hope and harsh reality, and everything that comes in between. 

Matthew McConaughey is barely recognizable both physically and character-wise. As superstitious, weird and scary as he is here, I couldn't help rooting for him. Tye Sheridan, who plays Ellis, is a new face (at least to me) that is most likely going to take the world of film by storm. This kid is tremendously talented and I can't wait to see him do more work - he has shown more emotional range in this one movie than some actors throughout years of their careers. The rest of the cast is great as well - you really can't go wrong with actors like Michael Shannon, Reese Witherspoon and Sam Shepard.

You don't want to miss out on this one. I highly recommend it to pretty much anyone with a heart. I really mean it, if you have a chance to see Mud - go and see it. It's worth every minute of your time.