Summer's here and when Ellis (Tye Sheridan) isn't selling fish for his daddy he is out exploring with his pal Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) who head to an island where there is a boat stuck up a tree. But whilst they plan to make it their own secret den they soon find that someone else is living there, a man called Mud (Matthew McConaughey) who says he use to live around the area and is waiting for someone but in the mean time need their help to bring him food and help him get the boat working again. As Ellis and Mud become friends he learns that the person he is waiting for is Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), the woman he loves and he is on the run as he killed a man who was beating on her. But now Ellis and Neckbone find themselves drawn in to this mess with bounty hunters after Mud and locals who are not to be trusted.
What goes around comes around, that seems to me to be the way things work in the movie industry these days. A movie will be made and then a few years down the line someone will come along and make a similar movie with the aid of better technology and aimed at a new generation. So for me as I watched "Mud" with the focus very much being on teenager Ellis this whole coming of age over a summer storyline was familiar from Ellis dealing with the first feelings of love to being won over by Mud the convict and taking in a dodgy family situation when it comes to his parents.
Now whilst "Mud" had that familiar coming of age side to things it certainly isn't predictable and credit to Jeff Nichols as he brings the movie together in an engaging manner, slowly building the back story to not just the character of Mud but the other locals so you then get this detailed but not overly complex storyline. And Nichols along with cinematographer Adam Stone create a brilliant look to accompany the storyline which sucks you in just as much as the storyline itself.
Of course the movie is not with out its performances and there is not a performance which is out of place with the likes of McConaughey, Witherspoon, McKinnon and Shannon all at home with the characters, the accents and the area which is a big plus because it never feels forced with actors trying to be something their not. But the star of "Mud" is Tye Sheridan who in a quiet way delivers this nicely controlled performance of a young boy dealing with the confusing time of being a teenager and lacking parental guidance.
What this all boils down to is that "Mud" is first and fore mostly a good movie with an engaging style which draws you in. But at the same time this coming of age storyline involving a teenager over summer has a certain familiarity about it.