As its Blockbuster season its hard for smaller budget movies to get a look in. For me, Mud literally crept up from nowhere however seemed a quirky little number well worth a view.
This film certainly wont entertain the die hard action buffs, nor will it tickle the fancy of comedy enthusiasts or even the love story tear spewers but if like me your a fan of movies such as Super 8, Stand by Me etc then there might be something here that will manage to crack a small knowing smile that this film offers something a little special.
Mud is the coming of age story of two young lads Ellis & Neck Bone (who's scarily comparable to a young River Phoenix - fuelling the fire for the Stand by Me comparison) who come across a storm stricken boat lodged in a tree on a remote island among the waterways of Arkansas. Their prize, well worth retrieving is thwarted by the discovery of Mud, a rugged and lonely man (McConaughey) who's seemingly taken up residence within it.
The story thereafter - Well, Mud manages to talk the boys into helping him restore the boat for himself while slowly, the unravelling of Mud's existence and reasons for being on the island become apparent for all. Our boys are torn between whats right, what wrong and behind it all, fuelled on by a love story that tugs at the heartstrings. Its unlikely that you'd expect a movie like this to end with an all out gun fight on a makeshift houseboat with snipers, fight scenes and a daring escape. But it does!
The cast - Well, Ellis & Neck Bone (Tye Sheridan & Jacob Lofland) are fantastic and easily comparable to some of the better known faces of Haim, Feldman & Phoenix who all started off their careers in these coming of age movies. Reese Witherspoon plays a role she's already well suited to as the southern belle love interest of Mud, albeit this time a little more darker and devious than we've seen her play before.
McConaughey is sensational in yet another fab performance that sees a return to form over recent years and with plenty more in the pipeline between now and 2015 lets hope it continues.
I may be mistaken but I believe this movie had a delayed UK release seeing as I'm sure I read this was filmed before Magic Mike but that aside - I was glad I took the time to break up my Blockbuster Summer of movies to take in this little gem.
Yes, it feels long and ploddy in places but you never get bored and each event leads smoothly onto the next one and so on and so forth until everything is explained. There are great little sub-plots along the way which include Ellis's own little love dilemma and his totally fearless approach to fighting far bigger and stronger opponents who cross those he cares about with no real concern for his own well being as well as his own friendship with Neck Bone (great name!) that is one that most kids of that age will easily relate too, especially in those long drawn out summers but we never had the luxury of our own motor boat - or the level of freedom that these two explorers readily enjoy, even in tough times.
If you want something a little different, loved Stand by Me or indeed any coming of age movie of the time then you wont be disappointed with this little offering.