In a minor, welcome variation on the Chekhovian cliché, the pistol introduced in Mud's first act goes unshot in the film's climactic shoot-out, a thoroughly telegraphed scene that nevertheless epitomizes an endgame shift from subtle, intensely felt, fable-tinged realism to comparatively obvious (if perfectly adequate) actionist fol-de-rol. But I loved Mud's last conversation with Ellis--long live the beautiful lie.
A movie featuring shirtless Matthew McConaughey and american sweetie Reese Witherspoon that surprisingly deflects from being a cheesy romantic-comedy. I was expecting something in the same psychological-thriller tone of 'Take Shelter', and although I'm not as satisfied as I was after watching Jeff Nichols previous effort, the strange relationship between Mud and Ellis was enjoyable to follow.
It's as though some air was let out in the attempt to follow up "Take Shelter," a momentous film that any burgeoning director would be lucky to have on their resume. "Mud" is part Southern fable, part coming of age tale, and - bizarrely enough - a variation on Jean-Claude Van Damme's Nineties action movies like "Nowhere to Hide." While it's far from a misfire, "Mud" lacks the lingering power of Nichols' other work.
Warm, stunning photography and fantastic performances (particularly from the children) makes for a naturalistic sojourn through a small riverside town in Arkansas where two boys learn about trust and love. Jeff Nichols is one of the only up and coming "big" directors whose work captures true Americana - small towns, traditional lifestyles, real conflict - without ever creating caricatures or cheap stereotypes.
Quite good -- maybe a step or two down from SHOTGUN STORIES and TAKE SHELTER, but still makes it three for three for Jeff Nichols. Definitely a loud and clear voice when it comes to the realistic, gritty portrayal of the American way of life in cinema today.
I don't think the film should be judged based on the synopsis and its development but rather on the way the two main protagonists are constructing the story themselves, this film might as well be imagined by them and things could have happened in a different way, Mud could have been a product of their imagination; it's Terrence Mallick meets early Spielberg and Zemeckis. Excellent.
Nichols really has a talent for tone and astounding images. McConaughey was amazing, as were the two kids. But, my favorite aspect of this film and Nichols filmmaking in general is just how goddamn American his films feel. This film has a timelessness to it in its coming of age tale. Kinda slow beginning but the end is worth it. Throw in a brilliant lesson about parents and divorce and you have a truly great movie.