McConaughey's affair with smaller budgeted features began with Surfer, Dude and continued on with Bernie, Killer Joe, The Paperboy and now the best of the bunch, Mud. While none of these killed at the box office, they each allowed McConaughey to expand as an actor by playing a vast array of characters. In a period when he could simply slide away in to a career of money making fluff, he chooses the complete opposite by playing characters that no other actor would touch with a ten foot pole. For this, we commend him.
Mud is another independent film by director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) that pushes McConaughey's acting talents to the limit as he fully encompasses the title character's obsession with the love of his life and the violent past that haunts him. Mud is not a simple character, but a multi-layered one that McConaughey not only plays on screen but fully inhabits with every facet of his expansive resume.
Both Nichols and McConaughey are in top form with Mud. Much like Take Shelter, Mud never moves too fast but instead allows the audience an intimate look at these characters and an understanding of how and why they're acting the way they do. At the heart, this is a piece about life and the human struggle to become whole despite the obsession that might stand in our way. It's also a film about letting go.
Mud is one of the best movies of the year and undoubtedly another great performance by Matthew McConaughey. If you're looking for something to watch this coming weekend, give Mud a chance. Despite a few scenes of violence, this is a movie that almost anyone could enjoy.
-Review by Chris George