Thursday, April 25, 2013

“Mud” – Movie Review



This week in my movie class, we saw the drama “Mud”, starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.


When a couple of teenage boys meet a stranger on an isolated island, they befriend him – but upon finding out he’s a dangerous criminal on the run, will their lives be imperiled?


Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are just a couple of teenage boys living in a sleepy southern town looking for their next big adventure. One day, they take a motorboat down the river to a remote island and come upon an unusual sight: a boat hitched to a trailer and mounted atop a tree. Upon climbing the tree, they inspect the boat and decide to claim it for themselves – but when they discover evidence that someone else has recently been there, they realize they are not alone.

Heading back to their motorboat, they meet Mud (McConaughey), a strange but affable man who maintains he’s waiting for his girlfriend. While Neckbone is suspicious, Ellis is more inclined to befriend Mud, so he brings food and when Mud decides he wants to repair the boat so he can leave the island, the boys supply him with stolen equipment. Gaining each others’ trust over time, Mud gives the boys a note for Juniper (Witherspoon), his girlfriend, who is staying at a nearby motel on the mainland. Upon delivering the note, however, Ellis stumbles upon Juniper being beaten by a stranger, a bounty hunter looking for Mud. The truth, the boys learn, is that Mud is staying on the island in an attempt to elude the police because they believe him to be connected to the murder of Juniper’s ex-boyfriend. The bounty hunter was hired by the victim’s father (Joe Don Baker) who wants him to find Mud before the police.

With wanted posters featuring Mud’s photo posted all around, he’s eventually spotted by one of the locals when forced to make a brief emergency trip into town. Once the authorities are notified, the bounty hunter and his team are hot on Mud’s trail. After finally getting the boat seaworthy, Mud sails it over to where Ellis lives with his parents – unbeknownst to him, he is quickly surrounded by the bounty hunter and his men; heavily armed, they are all ready to take Mud dead or alive. But will Mud survive their attempted capture and will Ellis wind up being collateral damage in the process?


Between his recent roles in “Bernie”, “Killer Joe” and now “Mud”, Matthew McConaughey has done an excellent job portraying some rather interesting characters in several high quality movies. Whether he’s finding these roles or they are finding him is unclear.  The bottom line is that he’s obviously and admirably not limiting himself to co-starring in romantic comedy confections with actresses like Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts. While a slightly flawed film, “Mud” is certainly worth checking out; it’s something of a combination of a Mark Twain tale mixed with “Stand By Me”, Rob Reiner’s motion picture adaptation of a Stephen King story.

Unfortunately, it is the ending of “Mud” that prevents it from being an even better movie. This, of course, is not a trivial matter and an inadequate ending has been the downfall of many motion pictures. There are several scenes in “Mud” where the viewer is required to suspend disbelief to one degree or another; generally throughout the film, it doesn’t take you out of the story very much, if at all. Its ending, however, is another matter altogether. Whether the ending alone is too much of a challenge to buy or the sum total of all the previous suspensions of disbelief finally catches up with “Mud”, I’m not quite sure. But it did make for a distinctly cringe-worthy moment for me to finish off an otherwise good flick.

Prior to the screening, our instructor interviewed director Mira Nair, who was in New York City to promote the opening of her new movie, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (which was previously reviewed here). Nair said that she originally thought she wanted to be an actress and wound up applying to Harvard, being accepted on a scholarship. Eventually, Nair decided to leave and come to New York to study acting at La Mama, when she realized that directing would be a better pursuit because her true calling was to be a storyteller. In “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, one of the characters has a father who is a poet; in real life, Nair’s father was a poet, although more as a hobbyist than as a professional. Included in the soundtrack of “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” are songs which use some of her father’s poems as lyrics.



IMDb 7.4/10617 votes

No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak Your Piece, Beeyotch!