Monday, April 29, 2013

Mud Review - 3½ Stars

Two southern river kids meet a mysterious stranger living in the woods in “Mud.”    Matthew McConaughey plays the mystery man with just the right notes of sunburn, hunger, and danger.  The kids vow to help him reunite with his lost love, Reese Witherspoon, for whom he killed a man.  That act explains Mud’s hidden life in a boat up a tree on an an uninhabited island.   The men hunting him literally pray for the chance to kill him.  The story turns on the two kids who bond with McConaughey.  They are Tye Sheridan who play 14 year old Ellis and Jacob Lofland who goes by the nickname “Neckbone.”  The kids hold their own with McConaughey and Witherspoon and the other adults in the cast.  Mud” never gets cute while capturing the innocence of small town Southern  adolescence.  This mix of “Huckleberry Finn” and “Stand by Me” turns into a first rate thriller when Joe Don Baker and his group of hired killers arrive for their revenge.  The first rate actors include  Michael Shannon as Neckbone’s uncle, Sarah Paulson and Ray McKinnon as Ellis’ unhappily married parents, and for good measure Sam Shepherd as a father figure with mysteries of his own.  An “Oh Wow!” kind of movie—“Mud” sneaks up on you.  McConaughey has turned in several great indie jobs  in the past seasons.  I think he’s got his eye an Academy Award and I bet he gets in the running.  soon.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Admirable thriller.  Is it entertaining?  Compelling.  Is it worth the price of admission?  A must see.