by Jack Henison
‘Mud’ is a film that totally took me surprise. To be honest I had no expectations with it, as I didn’t know a lot about it, but boy did I like it. The problem with ‘Mud’ is like every other independent film the marketing is never prominent so it’ll get overshadowed by bigger releases and slip under the radar. But Mud has something very strongly in its favour and that is Matthew McConaughey, yes you read that write, the man who I previously referred to as Matthew Mahogany is this films saving grace. After years of making what can only be described as god awful films, he has finally proven that he does have a talent for acting and is going through a career renaissance at the moment with other great roles in ‘Killer Joe’ and ‘Magic Mike’. I really do hope he keeps it up as I’m pleased to tell you that the rumours are true and he is genuinely good in this. Because of his surprise performance, he has managed to get people spreading news of the film around and people have gone to see it for him, it was even nominated at last year’s Cannes film festival.
The plot is as follows, two young boys Ellis and Neckbone acted brilliantly by newcomers Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland who live in a lake town, travel up river to a small island where a boat has been stuck in a tree. They wish to make it their personal tree house however they find it is occupied by a mysterious homeless man simply called Mud (McConaughey). Mud promises them the tree house if they do some errands for him and a pact forms between them. However it soon becomes apparent that Mud isn’t who he seems and is in fact a wanted fugitive.
One thing that was clear to me when watching Mud was just how much the filmmakers love and understand cinema. The film has some haunting images that are sure to stick with me for years to come. The director is emeriging talent Jeff Nichols who previously directed ‘Take Shelter’ another popular indie film. Mud evokes films from the past such as the Rob Reiner classic ‘Stand by Me’ also a coming of age film that follows 4 boys on a journey to find a dead body, who along the way begin to lose their innocence. In fact two of the leads River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton look remarkably similar to Sheridan and Lofland. The other is the classic British film ‘Whistle down the Wind’ where a group of young children find a bearded fugitive hiding out in their barn and mistake him for Jesus Christ.
I really urge everyone to see this film, I left the cinema almost dancing I was so happy with my choice of watching it on the big screen. Mud is one of those films that remind you just how beautiful cinema can be and in a year where we have films being released by both Bay and Shyamalan it’s just what us film lovers need.