The audience in the theater I was in seemed absorbed.
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The audience in the theater I was in seemed absorbed.
In fact, everyone needs to watch himself, mostly the eponymous fugitive and almost so the 14 year olds Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), who aid the murderer Mud as he connects with his lost love, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) and evades bounty hunters and irate family members of his victim. Everyone seems to be running from something.
This crisp thriller and psychological study can be enjoyed on two levels: First, it's a darn good chase story with Mud being pursued by bad guys and Mud chasing his love; second, it's a coming-of-age story as the boys, especially Ellis, sift through adult lies and compromises and their own growing sense of love's importance. That love covers parent for child, friend for friend, and boy for girl.
Although writer-director Jeff Nichols may be trying to do too much with those themes, he succeeds in crafting characters we really care about whose arcs promise to extend beyond the story, embracing universals that extend beyond rural Arkansas. So important is the river to the boys that inquisitive and ornery Huck Finn is as close as the next bend in the river.
While the title could represent the dirty little world of sin on the river, it also suggests the primal stuff from which Eve was made. Women are the central metaphor for the boys, who already know girls must be dealt with before boys can be called men. Yet, beyond dealing with the opposite sex, they must decide who's good and who's evil, regardless of gender.
That consideration starts with family and moves to the family of man. That's quite a lot for a little film. It delivers. If my comments don't convince you to see this indie gem, then consider the supporting cast of Michael Shannon, Reese Witherspoon, Joe Don Baker, and Sam Shepard. You'll crab there's not enough of each one, and that's all good. And I'm not just slinging mud.
It's always nice to see such a tremendous film of this nature, after all the garbage Hollywood tends to churn out these days. Mud is a genuine piece of filmmaking, which is not only thoughtful, but engrossing until the very end. It's deliberate slow pace ends up serving this film well, giving us time to soak it all in. I also loved the southern setting in this film, which made it all the more genuine, and realistic. The cinematography is a sight to behold, with many beautiful sights that never failed to amaze me. Mud is a very likable fugitive, and quite sympathetic in my opinion, and I give all the credit to McConaughey for that. He still has that charismatic swagger he always does, but he delves a lot deeper for this role. His good looks, give way to a dirty, greasy fugitive, who will do anything to survive, but is not void of morality. He cares about the young boys, even if it is for his own reasons. McConaughey pulls it off with conviction, and I felt he was tremendous. The best performance might just be Tye Sherdian as Ellis. For an actor his age, he was absolutely incredible, displaying many ranges of emotion throughout the film. This kid is going special places in my opinion, and I'll be shocked if he doesn't. Jacob Lofland is great as Neckbone (Ellis's best friend) Reese Witherspoon doesn't have a ton of screen time as you may think, but her character Juniper plays a pivotal part. Reese nails the part, and is gorgeous to boot. Sam Shepard adds great support as a longtime friend to Mud, as the grumpy assassin.
Final Thoughts: Its films like this, that restore my faith in Hollywood. It's genuine, gritty, and downright absorbing. I loved this film, and I can't possibly see why anyone would dislike it. It's just a great film
Ellis is free to roam the bye waters in his boat with his friend "Neckbone" (Jacob Lofland) who lives with his uncle Galen (Michael Shannon). Galen keeps himself in beer by diving for oysters in the murky depths, when not loving the ladies to his favourite tunes or playing the guitar.
This is a tough, real life day to day type of existence, well away from the American lives you normally see on the big screen. It is a change to see people that are struggling, yet largely content and portrayed as loving their kids, caring about them as best they can and not turning to violence at a moments notice.
Stumbling across a boat stuck high up in the trees on a deserted island, the boys believe they have found their perfect hideout. After a while they realise they are not the first to find the boat. Notwithstanding all the possible avenues the story could take, horror or something sinister with the older man interacting with younger boys, the story takes none of the conventional routes.
Meeting "Mud" (McConaughey) we meet a perfectly formed complex character, conversing in the usual but even more pronounced southern drawl. Armed with a pistol and a strong independent survival instinct, he starts to rely or manipulate, dependant on your viewpoint, the boys to his main aim. Retaining or retrieving the love of his life "Juniper" (Reece Witherspoon), his sole reason for being is to ensure her safety away from the forces of evil, that he perceives continue to follow her.
To give too much away would spoil the film but fair to say, the story meanders and forks in the same way the Mississippi, ever present in the background, continues to do. The delicate friendships and loyalties that are built and called into question, are all beautifully and believably portrayed.
Tye Sheridan is strong yet vulnerable, experiencing the pitfalls of young love and the upheavals of his home-life require him to trust someone, whether he makes the right choices remain to be seen. McConaughey is well cast and acquits himself well, with a thoughtful layered performance that goes well beyond the stereotypes you might expect. There is a sense of loss through the movie but it is never clear what has been left behind, the ending in particular is sensitively handled. Witherspoon does not get much screen-time but makes the most of the scenes she has, portraying a character one step up from trailer trash. However she remains a constant contradiction of smarts and foolishness wrapped within a superficially simple yet complicated persona.
Matthew McConaughey has recently rescued himself from recent Rom Com hell with a string of good performances in films that actually matter, his recent collaboration with Scorsese in "Wolf of Wall Street" is a good example. It is good to see his career resurrection and start to get noticed again for his obvious acting ability. Director and writer Jeff Nichol has coaxed excellent performances especially from his young cast, whilst placing them in a believable world of which most audiences have no previous experience Complaints, the character played by Sam Shephard feels more like a plot convenience than reality and arguably Sheridan makes it hard for his co-star to shine when his performance is so strong and front and centre.
A hugely enjoyable film that perhaps defies comparisons and convention. With a story that has time to grow and confound, there are many pleasures to be had.
Like an updated Tom Sawyer novel about nothing and everything, this comes highly recommended.
The 2 young actors (playing the characters of Ellis and Neckbone) were amazing -- especially Tye Sheridan playing the lead character, Ellis. Sam Shepherd was great as Ellis' "assassin" neighbor (and longtime friend of Mud), the actor who played Ellis' dad was TERRIFIC and stole every scene he was in. Reese Witherspoon was only on film for perhaps 10 minutes but she was perfect as Mud's white-trash girlfriend. And this was Matthew McConaughey's best job EVER. (Until now only his role in The Lincoln Lawyer was good to my mind, and I was tired of his constant good-old-pretty-boy act in everything else!) I hope it was not made too early to get consideration for the Academy Awards next year. Although it's a lowish-budget independent film, "Mud" is sure to become a classic! I saw it the other night with my wife... and I plan to see it again soon with my teenage son.
The setting for this film is the Mississippi River. It dominates this film as it dominates the lives of the main characters in this film. This is not a film about small-town America. There is a small town, in which everyone knows everyone, but most of the action takes place out of town, out on the river, and out in the uninhabited areas of the river's ecosystem. The two fourteen year old boys and their families, are river people, making a precarious living from the river. Life is hard but the people are hard-working, honest and resourceful. If Mark Twain was writing now, and had not been seduced into doing graphic novels, these are the people he would be writing about. In fact, this film does homage to Mark Twain; Huckleberry Finn was based on a childhood friend of Mark Twain's called Tom Blankenship, the name of a character in this film. This film then, essentially, is a modern up-date of that genre.
The two boys are played superbly by Ty Sheridan and Jacob Lofland. Their characters are fourteen-years old, hardened and matured by their environment. The two actors seem believable and natural in their roles. Chris Pine was originally considered for the role of the mysterious stranger, and with his blue eyes and young looks, he would have looked attractive and charismatic as he encountered the boys. I bet he wishes he had been in this well-scripted film. However Pine's loss is Matthew McConaughey's gain. Robinson Crusoe was never like this. I doubt if Pine could play this as well as McConaughey, who lives this role. Actor? This guy looks like he has done nothing, but, live on the river, all his life. You totally believe he is living on this island. If there was a Best Eating Baked Beans Oscar, he would get it! A totally convincing performance! All performances were great. Not just of McConaughey and the two boys, but of all the supporting actors too. At first you are unsure who is who in the families. They seem a little cold but as the film progresses the characters develop. All are believable. The female roles, there are three, are all strong and well developed. The lovely Reese Witherspoon, star of 'Legally Blonde', like Sharon Stone in 'Casino', shows here that she can play a gritty role. Youngest actress, Bonnie Sturdivant, like the boys, got it just right. Older actors too were great; Sam Shepard, who played his role with some depth, and it was good to see Joe Don Baker in a small role.
All actors played their roles convincingly. As said, their lives are hard; they are plain-speaking people, however the occasional bit of laconic home-spun philosophy, will also be said.
This movie is beautifully filmed, lovely rich colours. The river is filmed lovingly, so too the way of life. The film is a homage to the life and the river. However while we see beautiful scenes of the river, we see too the grittier scenes of urban decay and dereliction and waste. All filmed well.
The UK rating of this film is 12A, though this reviewer thinks it unsuitable for anyone under 14 years of age. There are many different threads and themes to this film and it is unclear what will be resolved. Friendship, family, life and death, love and violence are all explored. The adult themes are not hidden. The boys have to try figure out the truth and act accordingly. The film is very much seen through their eyes. However we do see a little bit more than the boys see. What is the truth? What to do? The truth is not very clear, clear as mud, perhaps. No real judgement is made about the truth, or the characters, or their decisions. Their lives are too rich and complex for that sort of simplistic verdict.
So at the end of this film, a fourteen year old boy may have learnt something, and others, so too may you. 10/10.
Read more: http://wp.me/py8op-xV; More reviews: Generationfilm.net
And what a shame this movie didn't get the Golden Palm!!!
I don't want to spoil this movie, but I can just say it's a rare and beautiful movie about love, friendship, nature and wildness. Very sensitive, touching.
The cast is great, Reese Whiterspoon, Matthew McConaughey, and the two children.
Great photography too, with great shots of the Mississippi (among others).
I'm looking forward to see Jeff Nichols' next project!
The cast works extremely well together under Nichols' direction with McConaughey delivering an Oscar worthy performance as a troubled man hiding out on an island in the Mississippi River who is discovered by two young teenage boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland in two winning performances).
You won't want much more spoiled before seeing it. Highly recommended.
Check out full reviews at theschleicherspin.com
The life in a small town depiction is completely spot on. I am from a small town (West, Texas, which recently experienced the tragic explosion), and the people, locations, and attitudes are completely believable. Anyone who was a boy in a rural area will really connect with the story.
The writing and directing is brilliant. It is the perfect blend of pacing, dialog, and action. The acting all around is top notch. Matthew McConaughey delivers an Oscar caliber performance; I liked this even more than his role in Frailty (which if you are looking for a great suspense / thriller, that is a must-watch). Supporting characters are completely effective and convincing. The actors playing the two boys deliver amazing performances; I suspect we will be seeing this young men for decades to come.
I am hoping that this movie gets recognized as the outstanding piece of film that it is. It is gorgeous to watch, and the locations feel far, far away from a Hollywood studio. But this is not just a pretty "art" film; it has an outstanding story that will grip you from start to finish.
In summary, I kinda liked it ... A+, a rare and solid 10!
Unfortunately, our closeted adventures and theories never amounted to anything but spur-of-the-moment daydreams. If only we could've had an experience like the characters in Jeff Nichols' Mud, a fantastic drama centered on growing up in the deep south. And yet, such an oversimplification may lead potential viewers to think it's a story they've seen many times before, when really, the film's multiple angles allow it to be looked at and enjoyed in several different ways. This is, simply put, one of the best, most wonderful films of the year.
The story narrows in on the likes of Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), two fourteen year olds hungering for adventure, girls, and excitement in their lives. Ellis lives with his miserable father and his unsatisfied mother, while Neckbone resides with his womanizing uncle. They discover on an island located distally from their home that there is a large boat stuck in a tree, housing food and pornographic magazines showing signs that someone lives there. That man, they find, is Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a fugitive housing a checkered past and now making due with little in the middle of nowhere, attempting to reconnect with his love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon).
The boys decide to help Mud reconnect with her and reside out in the middle of nowhere, until it becomes apparent that because the entire town is plastered with his pictures that he needs to get out. What unfolds is a beautiful tale of love, coming-of-age hardships, and family issues that result in a wholesome, gritty exercise that provides for numerous emotions to take fold.
One questions the motive of the boys to continue to help Mud, even after discovering what horror he committed. Because Ellis's parents are enduring hellish circumstances and losing love in one another, his commitment to helping Mud find Juniper seems stronger than Neckbone's because he doesn't want to see a couple who should be together remain distant. This is one of the many lenses you can see Mud through. The film is such a visceral, multi-layered experience that each person has the ability to find something different or subtly unique that lies within the story's seemingly direct roots.
Even after Nichols enthralling Take Shelter, which headlined Michael Shannon who is present in a small role here, he continues to have a growing fascination with skylines and the rural environment that his characters reside in. He seems to take a deep satisfaction in the presence of sleepy towns, beautiful, limitless skies, glowing sunlight, quickly-forming clouds, and the dustiness and wholesomeness of the south's environment. Scarcely has such a simple coming-of-age film achieved the beauty and majestic look that Mud effortlessly concocts.
Although it is not a tense, pulse-racing epic, the film still plays something like the kinds of "fugitive-on-the-loose" pictures you'd see from the early seventies. It still has that questionable uncertainty in its premise that allows it to be worthily thought of as the kind of film where the mystifying fugitive turns out to be something a bit more than a loser, but the way Nichols presents Mud is anything but the sappy sob-story we sort of expect.
And finally, Mud can be simply seen as a rural coming-of-age story, not far off from the likes of Rob Reiner's impeccable Stand By Me, which, too, centered on young kids become more unified because of a dangerous adventure. There's nothing wrong with looking at Mud simplistically, as a drama centered around early-teenagers, because even when you do that, you still get a wonderful, more-than-complete package with performances that are enriching and an adventure that's unbelievable. Matthew McConaughey, again, gives an astonishingly capable performance after coming off of the likes of the beautifully quirky Bernie, the unfairly-ostracized Magic Mike, and the haunting, yet enigmatic Killer Joe. It's safe to say that McConaughey has made enough money so that he can shy away from the pathetic romantic-comedy or dull actioneer in favor of riskier, more reclusive projects that test him as an actor. Teaming up with Jeff Nichols was certainly the right bet, as this is closest to the most perfect movie experiences I've had all year.
NOTE: My video review of Mud, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdnX_uIL6tM Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Joe Don Baker, and Michael Shannon. Directed by: Jeff Nichols.
"Mud" is a sensitive movie about a romantic boy that tries to help a stranger to meet his beloved girlfriend. The story of love and friendship brought recollection of "Stand by Me" because of the charismatic characters Ellis and Neckbone. The performances are top-notch and the cinematography depicts wonderful locations along the Mississippi River. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Amor Bandido" ("Bandit Love")
The man named Mud had fallen in love with a girl named Juniper when he was a kid and never recovered from the experience. Just as her name implies, she is a bittersweet, prickly creature whose fragrance has gotten into his nostrils and he thinks he can't live without her. On the other hand, she is fickle with love, not appreciating what he has to offer, and only accepting it when it's according to her whims. This mirrors the relationship that Ellis finds himself in with his "girlfriend," May Pearl.
Neckbone, on the other hand, has never had anyone love him except for an uncle whose relationships with women are on his terms and usually consist of one night, or to be more exact, one afternoon, stands. On the other hand, his uncle knows how to find the pearls others don't see, and he has found one in the boy he calls Neckbone.
Ellis can't help comparing his father's relationship with his mother to his new friend, who will do anything to defend the honor of this woman, even if it means going to jail for the rest of his life, and his father is falling short in his estimation. On one hand, his father is telling him how bad women can be and on the other hand, he has this friend telling him that they are worth everything. This conflicts Ellis, and he finds himself in his own set of conflicts as he defends the girl in his life.
Mud's stories are larger than life, and one wonders what is real and what is not. Juniper calls him a liar, but is he really? By the conclusion, one begins to see that Mud's actions are not as murky as they at first seem. In the end, will the river of life lead them to larger horizons where they can grow from their experiences?
Ray McKinnon and Sam Shepard stole the show in terms of acting. Amazing job done by the both of them. I wasn't impressed with Matthew McConaughey's acting. He is a very average actor and I feel the movie could have had a different vibe without him in the role. Both young actors (characters of Ellie and Neckbone) did a great job.
It is interesting how the movie is set in modern times (2011 was seen on a calendar) yet you don't see people using cell phones or computers or the internet. It's almost as if the film could have been done 30 years prior based on how it was filmed and the mood/tone of it.
I didn't fully understand the point of the character Galen and felt he could have been cut from the script and it wouldn't have made a huge difference. He was entertaining but irrelevant to the movie.
In the end (this is the spoiler) we are basically watching two murderers get away with murder. Of course they have our sympathies but...well...you know.
The IMDb full storyline is good but just baiting really. So, in addition to it I'll add the following: A friendship ensues from the encounter and even a bond between Ellis and Mud develops for they are both romantics, at least Mud so conveys to his young friend. We meet Tom Blankenship, father figure to Mud, played superbly by Sam Shepard, as well as Juniper, the supposedly love of Mud's life. To be honest this is the first performance I truly enjoyed from Reese Witherspoon who plays Juniper; I'll consider watching her again if she has serious dark roles.
Mud is a wanted man but not such a bad guy. Those who are after him, including the law are not likable one bit; Joe Don Baker who plays King, father of the one Mud killed, delivers a terrific performance. Add the performances of Ray McKinnon and Sarah Paulson as the parents, in impending divorce mode, of Ellis as well as Michael Shannon as the uncle and father figure to Jacob Lofland's character and you have yourself a really great cast.
The two main actors, Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan are so believable, it's uncanny. Young Tye Sheridan has a great future ahead of him and McConaughey should make his usual detractors quiet for a bit with this terrific role, if his performance in Paperboy did not already do the job.
It comes as no surprise to me that critics raved about this movie; had they not, their credibility would suffer, and better theirs than mine. Unless you are the type of movie-goer who snaps up only the commercial productions, you ought to like this movie and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
In reading some of the reviews, I see that a lot of viewers found the film to be slow and boring. Well, if you are looking for a typical action/adventure movie packed with chase scenes, narrow escapes, lots of blood and a lot of explosions, this is not the movie for you. If you prefer to watch a movie that has an actual storyline and good character development, you will enjoy this. A lot of people have compared it to Huck Finn and I could somewhat agree. It put me in mind of a couple of my other favorite movies, "Stand by Me" and "The Sandlot". AS I said, not for the mind numbed action/adventure addicted movie goers, but for those who appreciate a good script it is a must see.
This movie is raved by critics and people alike. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 98%! People we know saw it and loved it! which leaves my wife and me with one question....... WHAT THE HELL WERE ALL THESE PEOPLE WATCHING!!??!!
To start Matthew McConaughey plays himself.....as usual. Messy hair, Unshaved, grungy and dirty. Yet his white shirt stays impeccably clean throughout the entire flick! His acting was standard for him. We didn't find it exceptionally good or bad. Reese Witherspoon has a very minor role actually, and her scenes are mostly in one motel room. Again, nothing exceptional to report here. The 2 child actors however give superb performances. The story was long, boring, drawn out and horrifically dull. The movie was 2 hours and 10 minutes that really could have been edited to about 1 1/2 hours and not lost anything in the process. Dialogue scenes were drawn out for too long a time creating dull scenes that make your mind wander off. There are a ton of things that are left unanswered......like why the hell Matthew calls himself MUD? There is nothing in this movie that kept my attention and I found myself fighting off falling asleep during the middle. If you like "artsy" indie films, and you can get a cheap ticket then go see it. But don't by any means pay full price to see this snooze fest. The best part of seeing this thing was the plate of nachos I ate while doing so!
It scores highly and stands alone on its eerie perspective on conveying a tale to the viewers along with its all mixed up genre feature that hardly settles on an answer. Mud is profoundly written, explicitly executed and has some genuine dreadful characters that are given enough room to justify themselves on the plot offering enough range for the actors too to perform majestically. Jeff Nichols is brilliant in both of his job i.e. writing and directing and has an amazing cast star like Matthew McConaughey who is supported by brilliant kids and Michael Shannon and Sarah Paulson that helps him sail off this boat safe and easy to the shore. Mud; as said earlier, doesn't fit in a genre and hence helps the script to be unpredictable till the end leaving the audience mesmerized but has a bit of a trouble on its pace which is quite slow and it factors in a lot considering it is of more than 2 hours.
I recently reviewed This Is England because I love come of age tales where there is actual hurt and heartbreak because that's what defines us in life. This Is England is still my favorite of those type of films but Mud is a close second.
The acting is great MM is amazing but the real start of the film is boy as he changes into a man as the story unfolds, don;t miss this one, great film.