Film: MUD Director: Jeff Nichols Viewed: 5.3.13
Jeff Nichols has directed impressive films such as “Take Shelter” (a personal fave) and “Shotgun Stories.” Nichols did not disappoint with his newest feature, “Mud.” The film is set in his home state of Arkansas and captures the true Midwestern culture. As a Midwest guy himself, Nichols is one of the few directors that truly understands rural America and is fully capable of expressing this through film. The movie stars Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland as the two adventurous young boys, Ellis and Neckbone. In addition, Matthew McConaughey stars as Mud, the elusive man stuck out on an island, and Reese Witherspoon as Juniper, the down and out love interest.
“A lot of junk comes down the river. Some of it can be worth of a lot of money after you clean it up, but a lot of it is just junk. You need to know what things aren’t worth keeping.”
The Stuffing: The two boys, Ellis and Neckbone, venture out on the river to an island in which they have discovered an old boat wedged in a tree. The boys claim the boat and decide to find a way to lower and fix it. They soon realize they are not alone on the island when Mud appears, ragged and dirty. He confesses to the boys that he is wanted for murdering an man who abused his love, Juniper. He later proposes to them that if they help him fix up the boat, he would in return give them his .45 pistol. In the midst of bringing supplies and food for Mud, Ellis is struggling to define and interrupt love when he observes his parents going through a potential divorce, his upper grade girlfriend rejects him, and he witnesses contradictions between Mud’s and Juniper’s stories. Tensions rise as a collective amount of actions progress: bounty hunters are on Mud’s heels, the boat moves closer to functionality, Juniper’s hesitance to commit heightens and Ellis’ continual unstable home life all drive the viewer to the edge of their seat.
The Overall: There is so much more to the movie than I can explain in a single paragraph. This film was well paced and full of impact. Jeff Nichols takes you on a sweet journey, one of which you would hear from your grandfather with an impressive resume. The story is one of adventures and romanticism and one that can only be best seen through a child’s view. Overall, I give the movie a 9 out of 10.