Quickly becoming the most interesting American director that nobody has heard of, Jeff Nichols emerged with a stunning debut, Shotgun Stories, before making a small dent in the multiplexes with his second feature, Take Shelter. Both of these films are unique character studies tucked inside larger picture plots. It’s becoming increasingly rare for directors to prioritize strong, multidimensional characters over complex plot dynamics. However, Nichols seems to have carved out a style that’s based more on the fundamentals of storytelling than a specific genre or type. Now pairing with America’s new, intriguing actor, ahem, Matthew McConaughey, Nichols’ newest feature, Mud, looks to continue the filmmaker’s trend of crafting real, human dramas.
Mud tells the story of two boys who run into a fugitive and agree to help him evade the law and reunite with his true love. In addition to McConaughey, Mud stars Reese Witherspoon in her first dramatic turn in a while. Sam Shepard and Nichols veteran Michael Shannon also appear. At first glance, the film has a Stand By Me style of teenagers coming of age by way of a tragic encounter far more complex than their young minds can entirely comprehend. The plot also reminds me of Michael Cuesta’s (now of Homeland success) wonderful indie drama, Twelve and Holding. Mud hits theaters in 2013.
Check out the trailer and two short clips: