Flick Reviews: ‘Mud’ (2012)

Mud is the 3rd film from Jeff Nichols, and was released back in 2012. The film  tackles about two young boys who encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.

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Mud is a drama that gets you grounded in all of its themes, and gets you truly emotional just as you see its story unfold. It is absolutely Jeff Nichols’ version of a coming-of-age story. Just as you hear those words, you can immediately sense that Nichols had something different to go for and not get lost in the trappings of the ordinary. He brands his mark on that sub-genre of drama with his own sensibilities, and it could be detected in every scene that runs through. Brilliantly enough, the actors effectively carried out every single one of them, and didn’t ever fail in keeping us attached to their story at all times. What Jeff Nichols did for the film’s story is balance two plots; one involving Matthew McConaughey’s Mud and the other focusing on Tye Sheridan’s Ellis. If you thought that the film would tell the story of two persons, then you are not entirely wrong. However, these two characters’ stories never collide, yet they all had something to do with one another. Sometimes direct and sometimes indirect, but nevertheless their interactions had the capability to move our spirits and get us touched. The film was able to show all that, and lets us imbibe whatever it is it has to share with us.


Nichols’ spirited manner in telling us the story is efficient for the film’s depiction of its themes. But what’s more is that he entirely lets the characters carry the story in full effect, letting them take us away to play with our emotions. From the film’s start, you immediately get interested with it, and for the following minutes, it never gets less fascinating than it was when it all began. The pace is kept steady, and allows everything to get maneuvered heftily with depth. Delving into the emotions by giving us background about these characters gives us so much reason to get involved with their lives. Nichols definitely did a great job in doing all of this as he let us enjoy the encounters of two young kinds with a stranger. Within it, there is so much to be learnt as there is so much to get affected with. Mostly involving McConaughey and Sheridan. Whatever their characters had to display onscreen, be it their sentiments, thoughts or feelings, it always kept us hooked. More so, the warmth and emotional heaviness embodied in their characters embraced us tighter just as the film progressed, effectively touching our hearts and enriching our souls. Knowing everything that our main characters had to go through, the emotionally intense finale had the advantage to almost keep us devastated and wrecked as it planted more of its hearty tenderness in it.


Thinking about it could be absurd, but when you witness the relationship that these kids built with this stranger, you’ll find out the cause of all this spiritual illumination. Like Shotgun Stories, Jeff Nichols once again plays with the environment to leave a lasting impression on the narrative. By that, he occasionally stressed out the struggles of the characters that we see onscreen. Though sometimes it is subtle, it is no less involving than the main plot as it basically led up to it. These themes aren’t really subdued, but they rather only run in the background. However, they never get ignored and serves a fair essence to the film as a whole. Mud teaches us a lot of things about love, and it shouldn’t come out as a surprise that it got our hearts listening to what it had to tell about those things. Once we get taken into the center of their stories, the film fully binds us and doesn’t ever let us go long until it ends. Most specially when you have Matthew McConaughey to deliver all of those in a simply impressive performance and Jeff Nichols’ highly sensitized direction to lead him.


Seeing McConaughey take on the role was interesting enough, but seeing him getting accompanied by Tye Sheridan, a relatively new actor was another thing to get astonished with. To be quite honest, it was him that added the huge extra to the film even though it was McConaughey’s face that we saw in ever marketing material. It was Tye Sheridan’s conveying of feelings of concern and worry about the people surrounding him that really kept us stuck to what the film had to offer. The looks on his face lets us jump right into his might and lets us express our sympathies for him as we look at the screen. Jeff Nichols served us up with a refreshing and emotional coming-of-age story with Mud. It shows a fondness in its themes through its sensible depiction of it, and further emphasizes on it through the eyes of its emotionally-attachable leads in Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan. This should do the job to get fans of the coming-of-age genre to get their fix, and they would be glad to since Jeff Nichols has shown us that Mud has the capability to end up being a genre classic.



Meanwhile, Jeff Nichols’ latest sci-fi drama Midnight Special is now showing in select Philippine cinemas. See it in cinemas now!


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