Monday, May 6, 2013
The latter is definitely the case with Matthew McConaughey. For the past decade, his resume consisted mainly of romantic comedies where him being shirtless was contractually obligatory. The mere thought of him as a serious actor was laughable. (Well, at least to those who never saw A Time to Kill, Lone Star or Frailty.) Then came the one-two punch of Magic Mike and Killer Joe last year, and that decade-long image of him died a painful death.
McConaughey continues his streak in Jeff Nichols' Mud. Here, he plays the title character, a man hiding from the law and bounty hunters. He's not a viciously violent man nor is he one being wrongfully pursued. He's fully aware of what he did was wrong but he did it for a sole reason: to protect his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon).
The work from McConaughey is phenomenal, and the work from Witherspoon, Sam Shepard and Sarah Paulson also deserves a mention. But it's the work from Tye Sheridan (who plays the real leading role) that simply must be mentioned. You honestly don't find performances like that very often, especially from a child actor.
Mud is one of those films where one small mistake could derail the whole thing. Thankfully that doesn't happen. Not only does McConaughey prove that he can most definitely act with Mud, Nichols shows that he's one of the best directors working today. Seriously, go see Mud.
My Rating: *****