Mud

mudTwo Arkansas boys (Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland) find a boat stuck in a tree and a mysterious man (Matthew McConaughey) living in it; he’s hiding from something but they agree to help him… In Take Shelter (2011), director Jeff Nichols depicted the countryside in such a natural way and expertly worked tension into it; this drama works the same way. Its themes deal with what it’s like to grow up in your teens and how we deal with an adult world that is difficult to understand. Straightforward and engaging, with good performances by McConaughey as the stranger and Sheridan as a 14-year-old going through an emotional rollercoaster. Rural Arkansas locations are a major asset.

2013-U.S. 130 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Lisa Marie Falcone, Sarah Green, Aaron Ryder. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols. Cast: Matthew McConaughey (Mud), Tye Sheridan (Ellis), Reese Witherspoon (Juniper), Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, Sam Shepard… Michael Shannon, Joe Don Baker.

Trivia: Chris Pine was allegedly considered for the lead.

Last word: “When I said out loud, ‘God, I want a guy hiding out on the Mississippi River,’ that just sounded like a big, classic American movie. And I wanted it to be a big, epic American movie, and I wanted Matthew McConaughey and I wanted Steadicam shots. It wasn’t a specific reaction to the marketplace or me trying to grow my career, it was more about the essence of what I wanted the movie to be. I needed more money because I needed a movie star and I needed the equipment and the resources around me to pull it off, because I didn’t want to slash this budget to $1.5 million and figure it out. We did that with ‘Take Shelter’ and I wasn’t willing to do that with ‘Mud’. (Nichols, Filmmaker Magazine)

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