Matthew McConaughey delivers another strong performance as a fugitive who befriends an impressionable 14-year-old in Mud.
In the third film from Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols, much of the action takes place in the middle of the Mississippi River along the eastern Arkansas border. That’s where Ellis (Tye Sheridan) meets Mud (McConaughey), and helps him lie low from the law and some bounty hunters while he waits for his sweetheart (Reese Witherspoon). When a story is this simple, and the outs are pretty well drawn before the movie ever makes any hints of them, the onus is on the storytelling. Nichols develops these characters well, establishing why they have a bond and how deep it goes. There’s a generational observance here, too, with Mud sharing a similar relationship with river-dweller Tom Blankenship (Sam Shepard). Mud
isn’t showy and it’s not perfect, but this is still some damn fine Southern literature.