One of the things that drew me to Mud was Matthew McConaughey (who shines in an Oscar worthy performance). With interesting choices and roles in movies like Killer Joe, Magic Mike and The Lincoln Lawyer, McConaughey has been on a roll in the last few years. Forget stinkers like Sahara, Fools Gold and Failure To Launch; McConaughey has become one of those actors that is magnetic onscreen and makes interesting choices in characters and films. Even when one of his movies doesn't quite work, his performance is usually hard to not appreciate.
In this movie, McConaughey plays the title character Mud, an outlaw who is hiding in an Arkansas riverbank before being discovered by two impressionable teenagers. Flawed and complicated but certainly likable, Mud seems to be a dream role for a character actor (something McConaughey has always been at heart) and one that he plays flawlessly in this film.
Not to be outdone, the heart of this film lies in Tye Sheridan, who plays Ellis, one of the teenagers who finds and helps McConaughey's complex fugitive. I've never seen Sheridan before, but he really is the film's heart and protagonist. The fourteen year old's character adds a sweetness and a moral compass that was not expected going into this story.
Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson and Michael Shannon round out a great and perfectly cast ensemble. Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols, Mud is methodically paced, exceptionally written and is sure to be one of the most satisfying movies of 2013. This is definitely a movie I will find myself owning and re-watching multiple times when it comes out on DVD.