Mud, the film Written and Directed by Johnathan Nichols (Take Shelter, Shotgun Series) is a treasure. The story is engrossing. It rivals what I believe are the standard bearers of this genre – Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Apt Pupil. Ironically all of these films were adapted from the same book of novellas The Different Seasons (The Body, Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, The Apt Pupil) written by Steven King.
Set near the town of Dewitt Arkansas and confluences of the White, Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, Mud feels simultaneously mystical and everyday real. In addition to a wonderful main plot Mud provides a number of credible and interesting sub-plots. Mud gives us Characters that are total characters and others that are honest and simply bearing the burdens of hard scrabble living. Mud is about people who are trying to make ends meet from the bounty offered by working the river or ones trying to lay low and out of the way of attention. Mud presents us with families grasping for stability. Mud presents us with young teenagers who can astonish with both insight and naivete. Mud shows us how love can be used, misinterpreted, unrequited and given selflessly. Mud reveals what it is like to gain strength and feel disappointment from those you trust and love.
From a technical perspective Mud is a very fine film as well. The locations used for the film are superb, exist in real life and all sit well within 100 miles of each other. Mud is a Wide screen film (2:35 to 1 aspect ration) and Adam Stone’s (Take Shelter) cinematography and lighting are the equal of the script and acting.