Leeds Movie Fans Meetup Group Message Board › Mud - Review

Mud - Review

Frankie
user 8204205
Group Organizer
Leeds, GB
Post #: 791
Mud is a sublime new movie, written and directed by the super-talented Jeff Nichols, and starring Matthew McConaughey in the title role. Nichols fails to fall into the trap of many writer/directors by making a movie that is overlong because they cannot bear to part with any of their own source material. Instead we have a film that may result in the unusual combination of the same person winning best director and best original screenplay oscars for the same film in the same year. A couple of us still felt that the film was overly long at 2 hrs 10 minutes, but I wanted more, as I was utterly hooked in smile.

As for our movie fans, we had a debut from Siobhan, who is a fine addition to the group, and we welcomed back Aisha Andrew, and Valerie. Mark joined us for the second time in a few days so we must be doing something right, and then our super regulars started appearing, Adam, Mags, Ken, N.o.e.l.l.a, Erin (with debut guest Owen), and then Vivek just before the start. Julian sneaked in without anyone seeing him, but happily joined us afterwards at The Brudenell. He *always* does that biggrin.

The cast of Mud may also be up for some awards, with a career defining performance from McConaughey as the fugitive 'Mud', hiding from the laws in the islands and delta of the big snake itself, The Mississippi, and adding a mysticism as a man on the edge of ruin, who is in danger of being overpowered by his own morality. Also immensely impressive is Tye Sheridan as Ellis, a 14 yr old whose ma and pa are on the verge of divorce. Ellis and his pal Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) find a speedboat marooned up a tree and are determined to rescue it and claim it for themselves. Nichols deserves credit for coaxing two excellent performances from his two young actors, and whilst it is no longer a surprise when we see such precocious talent, both continue the understated mood that pervades the movie and made a collectively impressive screen presence.

Morality is the theme throughout the film, so when Mud finds the boat too, it is all about making a deal with Ellis and Neckbone about the boat, rather than use his superior strength to claim it, and from this the movie expands to explore the dilemma Mud finds himself in, a fugitive because his latest crime of passion (always involving Juniper his ex-girlfriend) has got him in the kind of trouble that has a string of bounty hunters and the police, on his trail, and desperately in need of some trustworthy assistance. Ellis ensured this will be the case.

My favourite films always have a strong element of friendship throughout, hence Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid is my all-time favourite, and this was another main theme here: the developing relationship between the three main characters was very enjoyable. Neckbone looks up to Ellis, but Ellis and Mud become equals as the movie progresses, and this was resonant of the coming-of-age element that Nichols was clearly keen to explore. He did so in a controlled way, using a fine residual cast, with Sam Shephard as the grumpy neighbour in the boathouse across the river, Joe Don Baker as the revengeful father seeking Mud at all costs, Michael Shannon as Neckbone's kind uncle, and featuring another strong male performance from Paul Sparks as a fairly desperate father to Ellis, whose entire family life is in imminent danger of unravelling. Reese Witherspoon failed to reduce her stock further with a grounded performance as Juniper, who lacks the courage of her convictions when it comes to Mud, hiding out in a run down motel and beginning to suffer from world weariness. Thank you Reese! Ellis' mum is good (Sarah Paulson), a woman who knows her best days may be about to run out, and is in need of a change before its too late, but this is a film with strong masculine themes throughout.

A couple of us would have preferred a slightly different ending, although I won't spoil it by discussing that here except I too would probably have ended the film a minute or two earlier. As far as I am concerned though this really is splitting hairs, the movie is an absolute diamond and easily earns 10/10. Oscar time is February 2014 but I already know what movie I am rooting for.
Frankie
user 8204205
Group Organizer
Leeds, GB
Post #: 792
Mud times at HPPH this week are: Sun 02.06 at 5:30pm and Tue 04.06 at 8:30pm. I may well schedule the latter as I fancy seeing this again. Interested?
Frankie
user 8204205
Group Organizer
Leeds, GB
Post #: 797
I went to see this a second time last night with 3 of our meetup colleagues, and I have to say I really enjoyed it second time round, at least as much. My only criticism would be the early dialogue is very mumbly, but it gets clearer as the film goes on, possibly because we get used to the Southern accents. As a movie it is very subtle with stuff like the way the kids are filmed. For example, at the start the camera is looking down at them but as they grow in stature as the film continues, they are filmed at head height. This is just a small example of why this film is easily the best so far this year. This time round I agreed with the ending, that was my other slight criticism last time, and even that was splitting hairs. Brilliant and still 10/10
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