Saturday, November 2, 2013

Three Short Paragraphs: Mud

2012, Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) -- download

Since we are in a Matthew McConaughey mood (see the last piece in Graig's recent I Saw This!!) I thought I would reach back to this one, before it actually falls into the domain of said piece. If you have seen anything of McConaughey since the TIFF this summer past, you are aware of his great weight loss for a role in Dallas Buyers Club. It is apparent that he began that path during the production of this movie, for the once buff surfer dude (i know, i know, from Texas but he always had that vibe around him) body is beginning to wither away. It fits this role, as a criminal on the run, hiding on an island in the river, being fed canned beans by a pair of boys who found him. Hopefully he can recover the weight healthily.

The structure of this movie is a coming-of-age story in rural America. It has the slow feel of showcasing the environment the boys are growing up in, as much as telling a story. It has been a long while since I enjoyed such style and I wish I had been absorbed more. I wanted to smell the turgid water of the river, feel the itch of the mosquitoes being slapped away and wipe away the sweat of the summer heat. Instead we get to understand Ellis and Neckbone and their fascination for the man on the run, Mud.

Ellis is at hard stage in teenage life, wanting to extend his natural confidence to dating but not knowing the social structures. And he is going through the surprisingly tempered breakup of his family. His parents have difficulties and are both rough, rural folk, but both love Ellis and it shows. But the effect pushes Ellis towards the drama in Mud's life. Mud is a man apparently full of wisdom and experience, but really not much more than the messed up kid Ellis has the potential of becoming. It is all around love. Obsessive everlasting love, damn all circumstances, like Mud and fading melancholy love, as between his parents. And of course, first love. No coming of age story is there without first love.