MUD: A REVIEW

SATLY KERNEL, DARA SHASHOUA, gives us a review for MUD which she got see on her big trip to the BIG APPLE. I am a little saddened by MUD – it looks like an incredibly good film and yet in Australia it is getting an incredibly limited release, so incredibly small indeed that only one cinema in NSW is playing it – it commenced today at DENDY NEWTOWN – get yo butt to see it.

When I was recently in New York, I had to go and see a movie (as you do when you’re a movie reviewer).  To be honest, it was hard to find a couple of hours to spend in a cinema but I managed to do it. And, if I was going to go to a movie it had to be an amazing cinema.

 

Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey's latest, MUD
Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey’s latest, MUD

 

Where did I go? AMC 25 in Times Square. First, a little bit about this cinema chain.

American Multi Cinema Inc (AMC) welcomes approximately 200 million guests each year throughout their 300 locations. That’s a crap load of movies shown each year.  AMC is recognized as an industry leader and an iconic destination. And it all started when the son of one of the original owners returned from serving in the army and took over a successful Midwestern family business. Stanley Durwood saw one screen in one building as limiting. People wanted more choices. So he began remodelling several large single-screen Kansas City, Mo. theatres into smaller buildings with multiple auditoriums. The result? The first multiplex theatre in the world was born. The success was massive, and the theatre served as a blueprint for the industry. By 1968, Durwood’s multi-screen theatre chain had expanded nationwide and was incorporated as American Multi-Cinema, Inc. (AMC). During the next three decades of Durwood’s leadership, AMC continued to innovate with the movie-goer in mind. The armchair cup holder, stadium seating and the industry’s first rewards program—AMC MovieWatcher Rewards—continued to revolutionise the cinema industry.

 

KERNEL DARA'S RIDICULOUSLY SIZED ICECREAM FROM AMC
KERNEL DARA’S RIDICULOUSLY SIZED ICECREAM FROM AMC

 

As for the candy bar, EVERYTHING was upsized.  Like ridiculously. Check out my Drumstick! The complex has 25 cinemas, yes 25 spread out over numerous levels. Unfortunately they do serve hot food which is something I personally do not like in a cinema.  I hate having to smell others peoples food, but c’est la vie. Right?

Now for the movie…………….

 

Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey's latest, MUD
Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey’s latest, MUD

 

Mud is very reminiscent of a Mark Twain-esque tale that centres upon pals Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), a pair of best mates who live in a community tied to a dying way of life on the Mississippi River. Ellis’ family lives in a decrepit houseboat on the river whilst his father (Deadwood‘s Ray McKinnon) works as a fisherman and ropes Ellis in to help with his deliveries. Their home life isn’t exactly happy, which results in his mother (Sarah Poulson) requesting a divorce. Ellis struggles to come to terms with his parents potential break up as he still holds a romantic ideal of love and this all intensifies when he happens upon the mystery of the man we know as Mud (Matthew McConaughey) and his romanticised story.

Trying to escape from their perceived uneventful lives the boys take Neckbone’s uncle’s (Michael Shannon) boat to a small abandoned island down the river seeking the perfect summer fort, a boat that has been trapped high up in a tree. They plan to make it their own, until they realize it has been claimed by Mud, an unkempt man with crazy talismans and bizarre stories. The boys, especially Ellis, become mesmerized by Mud’s claims that he is hiding out and is waiting for his lady love to reunite with him. Ellis agrees to help Mud by bringing supplies and delivering messages to the battered but beautiful Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). However, after a while the boys start to realise that Mud is not all that he claims to be, and the truth of his love story with Juniper is much more complex than Ellis could imagine.

 

Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey's latest, MUD
Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey’s latest, MUD

 

The score of the film is essentially based upon Ellis’ adventure as he seems to be in almost every scene of the film.  It’s foreboding and gloomy and warns us of the danger before Ellis even recognises it. This is writer and directors Jeff Nicholls third film, the other 2 films being Shotgun Stories and the awesome Take Shelter.  Mud will be viewed as a slight departure from his previous works as the story is told from Ellis’s point of view, being a wide eyed young man who still believes that love can conquer all.  Nichols manages to write amazing character driven movies that captivate you from the outset, it’s not just the boys, or Mud it’s every single character and his choice of actors is spot on.

 

Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey's latest, MUD
Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey’s latest, MUD

 

The performances are sensational. Tye Sheridan, who appeared in Tree of Life, is simply sensational as Ellis amd you would never know that this was Jacob Lofland’s first film. Ray McKinnon and Sarah Paulson are perfectly cast as Ellis’ parents even though the don’t have nearly enough screen time. Michael Shannon is, well Michael Shannon is always amazing and Sam Shepard is perfectly cast as the scary loner who is rumoured to be an ex-assassin. Reece Witherspoon is a perfect Juniper, wide eyed and pretty but I do save the best for last…Matthew McConaghey.

 

Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey's latest, MUD
Salty Popcorn reviews Matthew McConaughey’s latest, MUD

 

It must be very difficult to try and downplay the ridiculous good looks of McConaghey, they do the best they can with a mangled set of fake teeth that do hide his perfect pearly whites.  He manages to walk around a lot of the time with his shirt open but he is simply riveting as Mud.  Personally, I am loving watching him pick grittier roles to display his acting chops, and folks, he is not just a pretty face with a hot bod. From Killer Joe (if you haven’t seen it, shame on you. Go and get it. Now) to Mud I cannot wait to see his performance in Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club, which has been well documented as to how much weight he lost for that role.  I spy an Oscar on the horizon very soon for Mr McConaghey.

All in all I enjoyed Mud immensely, the uglier his characters are the better McConaghey becomes and Tye Sheridan has a huge future ahead of him.  Mud is shot so beautifully with wide screen landscape vistas and a score that delves right into you – its a must see film.

 

4 Pops