Mud [Blu-ray + Digital]
Blu-ray + Digital + Ultraviolet
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Mud is an adventure about two boys, Ellis and his friend Neckbone, who find a man named Mud hiding out on an island in the Mississippi. Mud describes fantastic scenarios-he killed a man in Texas and vengeful bounty hunters are coming to get him. He says he is planning to meet and escape with the love of his life, Juniper, who is waiting for him in town. Skeptical but intrigued, Ellis and Neckbone agree to help him. It isn't long until Mud's visions come true and their small town is besieged by a beautiful girl with a line of bounty hunters in tow.
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Top customer reviews
The always excellent Matthew McConaughey anchors the film as the titular character. He's a likeable rogue, and the audience can't help but like him, even though it's almost certain his stories are all lies. His charisma draws the boys into his world. Ty Sheridan plays Ellis, a resourceful, stoic boy who is taking his first tentative steps into manhood. Sheridan plays the role with just the right combination of energy and understatement. He's intense, but also reserved, which works well with the movie's subject matter and setting. He's used to doing things on his own, and was raised to keep his emotions hidden.
Reese Witherspoon rounds out the cast as Mud's love interest Juniper. Like the rest of the cast, she plays her role with a quiet intensity that works well.
The film is well-written, well-acted, and shot in an understated manner that focuses on the characters rather than the plot. It's a great story of a boy's loss of innocence, and well worth watching.
Jealousy, betrayal, separation, revenge and violence are prominent themes in "Mud". They issue from the main theme, the difficulty in human relationships, particularly the relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, which often starts off so promisingly and hopeful.
Snakes are also a theme in "Mud", particularly the Cottonmouth, a poisonous water moccasin. Early in the movie Ellis says, "I hate snakes." To which Mud replies, "That's because God put um here for us to fear." Later in the movie as Ellis' parents argue while their marriage disintegrates into separation and probable divorce, Ellis' father Senior (Ray McKinnon) accuses his wife and Ellis' mother Mary Lee (Sarah Paulson), of raising Ellis to be "a snake just like herself."
In Genesis 3:12 after Adam and Eve fell for the temptation of the Serpent, the Snake, we see the first division in human relationships between the man and his wife: "The woman whom you put here with me - she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it." This will eventually lead to murderous violence as Cain kills his brother Abel.
When Ellis and Neckbone first learn that someone else is on the small island where they are hiding a boat, they see a footprint in which it looks like a cross is in the heel of a boot. But Mud eventually tells the boys that he has "nails shaped like crosses" in his boots.
Jesus nailed to a Cross has obtained the Grace to heal human beings and repair their sometimes stormy, and even violent relationships.
I thought "Mud" was excellent with an exciting climax. How refreshing it is to see an unabashedly Southern story in which the Southerners aren't being portrayed as stupid yokels. Mark Twain, whom "Mud" writer and director Jeff Nichols mentions in an extra after the movie, knew good stories could be set in the South. Would that more modern creative people would learn that the South isn't just part of "flyover country". Reese Witherspoon, a Tennessee native, touches on this also in an extra, saying, "There aren't a lot of Southern film makers."
Texan Matthew McConaughey as Mud is excellent as always. He's now on the A-List, if he wasn't already, after his Best Actor Oscar win for "Dallas Buyers Club". But he remains an interesting character actor.