At the end of each day when I come home from work, I’m faced with a critical decision; do I go out to see one of the week’s latest releases in theaters, or do I stay in and choose from the field of classics and new releases that fill my IMDb watchlist. There are many facets to this decision, from “Do any of my friends want to go with me?” to “Do I really want to spend that much money tonight?”, but in the end the only question that really needs to be answered is “Do I really want to be wearing pants right now?” As you can see from my recent trend towards the home video market, the answer to that question has been an increasingly frequent “No”. Luckily, it just so happens that one of the most critically praised movies of the year was recently released for the small screen and as a result it was much easier to make that decision for my latest review. Without further ado, here is my brief opinion on Mud, starring Tye Sheridan and Matthew McConaughey.
Honestly, I’d love to go on and on about this movie but I’m getting tired and hopefully the score below will be enough to point you in the right direction. Mud has a lot of“Modern American Mythology” related aspirations in its premise, but for those of us who aren’t well versed in the plot and character archetypes of old texts are far from ignored by this honest, sympathetic and occasionally moving coming of age story. That isn’t to say it’s anything like “The Breakfast Club Goes South”, but since when do quirky, angsty teens in middle class families get to hog all of the that little subgenre. For most people, our own coming of age story wasn’t like anything in a John Hughs movie, and through its setting in the impoverished american south, Mud is able to offer a few bits of setting and plot development to the equation that give the film a more unique and mature tone.
While I’d like to shine the spotlight on any of the various directorial or writing flourished that make the movie such an engrossing experience, I think a more productive was to use these last few sentences before I pass out would be to touch on my main complaint with the movie. Now I’m not exactly Susan B. Anthony incarnate I still like to see women represented fairly in movies, but it probably doesn’t come as a shock to anyone that this is not always the case. Basically, the plot revolves around two men and their struggle with being rejected and mistreated by the women they love, and while the men get to have their little moments of saying”Chicks, Man…” to eachother while singing Jay-Z’s 99 problems on repeat, the women measure up to little more than scraps of meat for all of the other male characters to fight over for some reason or another. All I’m saying is that having one honest-to-god female character in there wouldn’t have killed them.
The Verdict: 8.5/10 – Impressive
+ Excellent performances, especially from the often underutilized McConaughey
+ A clear, consistent story line that doesn’t rely on twists to keep you interested
+ An exciting third act that helps ease the slightly excessive run time
– The “Bitches be crazy” theme feels a bit one sided in its gender relations argument
You can rent or buy Mud on Amazon Instant Video, aka right here .
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
The Cinema Monster: 9.5/10
A Door Into Movies: 4/4
Keith and the Movies: 4.5/5
The Code is Zeek: 4/5
Fast Film Reviews: 3/5
Average: 8.6/10 – Impressive