Every so often you come across a movie that truly wows you in almost every possible way. Mud is one of those movies.
I knew nothing about this film except that Matthew McConaughey starred in it. That’s it. What I got was some of the best storytelling I’ve seen in a film this year. Mud is an amazing piece of cinema, one that is bound to become a classic, and I hope it gets the recognition it so deserves.
Ellis and Neckbone are our protagonists here, two very southern, very independent boys who live for the adventure the Mississippi River brings them on a daily basis. But when they come across a boat stuck in a tree on a deserted island (yes, you read that right), their lives will never be the same.
What makes Mud’s story so engrossing is the simplicity of it. There’s no explosive set pieces here, just a wonderfully told coming of age story that hits all the right notes. It’s one of the best movies of the year, and the more I think about it the more I want to watch it again.
I’m going to keep the plot summary at the barest minimum because I think watching this movie with as little information as possible is the best way to do it. Like I said up top, I knew very little about this movie before seeing it. No trailers, no reviews, not even a TV ad; I avoided it all because I wanted to experience this movie, and that’s exactly what I did.
What really drives Mud is its characters, and even though the intricately layered plot is a work of art, I love Mud because I fell in love with its characters. Ellis and Neckbone are two kids I think we can all see some of ourselves in, and they’re are probably two of the most fully-realized characters I’ve seen this year.
Putting how I feel about this movie to words is really difficult, just because it was so good. The acting was astounding, with everyone giving it their all and in some cases delivering a career defining performance, and the only ‘problem’ I have with it is that not everyone (mainly Michael Shannon) didn’t get a lot of screen time.
However, this is really Matthew McConaughey’s show, and wow does he deliver. I’ve never been his biggest fan, but he has completely won me over here. His portrayal of Mud, is intimate, realistic, and heart-wrenching. He delivers every line perfectly, and no matter how misguided his motivations might seem, you’re always on his side, just hoping he gets the happy ending he strives for.
I won’t spoil anything for you, but this isn’t a happy-go-lucky kind of movie, but rather, one of the most developed and heartbreaking stories I’ve seen. It addresses themes like family and love in a way you don’t see often, and it’s equal parts touching and somber.
If I had any complaints about this movie, it would have to be the ending, which seemed a bit abrupt. It ties up all the loose ends, and fits with the tone of the rest of the movie, but it could’ve been fleshed out a little bit more I think. But the movie does run at almost two-and-a-half hours long, so it’s probably best it ended the way it did.
This is one of those movies that can’t be easily forgotten. Everything about it is incredible, and I truly hope it gets at least gets mentioned when award season comes around. I am very grateful to have had the privilege to live with these characters for the duration of the film, and I truly hope others are as well.
If you’re a fan of good cinema, or just fascinating storytelling, then I can’t recommend this movie enough. It’s one of the very best movies of the year, and it very much deserves your attention.