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MUD

Director: JEFF NICHOLS

130 minutes, U.S.A., 2012, Colour, D-Cinema


In this backwoods Arkansas rites-of-passage story, Matthew McConaughey continues his transformation from fading heart-throb to compelling character actor, as a fugitive ne’er-do-well (his name is indeed ‘Mud’) who promises two local lads his wreck of a boat if they help him contact his estranged girlfriend (Reese Witherspoon).

Exposure to the adult world of troubled romance and potentially lethal vengeance proves quite an eye-opener for idealistic Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his more circumspect pal Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), whose gradual coming-of-age Take Shelter writer-director Jeff Nichols records with the same respect and affection he affords the unspoiled local lakes and rivers. Affectionately echoing both Huckleberry Finn and Stand by Me, this unhurried slice of Americana offers a junior adventure story told from the wise perspective of an older head as the increasingly tense drama plays out. One to savour. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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