Adults are just so messed up!
They don’t know who to trust, to love, they kill to get even, and women are no better than men at playing that game. They are all confused.
This is a story between two pals, through thick and thin, Ellis(Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone(Jacob Lofland). Ellis’s parents are separating, and Neckbone does not have any that lives with him, he is with his uncle Galen (Michael Shannon). Two guys only have each other, so to speak, for support.
Mud(Matthew McConaughey) is a wanted man hiding on an island off the Mississippi river infested with poisonous river snakes. Ellis and Neckbone find a boat suspends among trees, where they also discover someone is living in that boat-Mud. They become friends, because Ellis in particular senses that he is a good guy, despite Neckbone skeptical remarks. Mud is running away from a murder he did to rescue his fallen girl, Juniper(Reese Witherspoon), a girl he has loved since at the age of Ellis in the same town. She goes for the bad boy type!
A bit ambivalent is the relationship between Tom Blankenship(Sam Shepard) and Mud-father-son? guardian? friends? Tom lives on a floating trailer across from Ellis’s, and he knows Mud’s life history. Tom has his own secretive past that can kill you with point-blank accuracy!
Ellis, our main character, is a bit of a firecracker himself. He hits a guy two years senior to get his girl May Pearl(Bonnie Sturdivant), who is obviously toying with his emotions, perhaps like Juniper with Mud’s?! Ellis has great respect for his parents despite their cold war between each other that pulls him to pick side. He is also a believer in pure love and a survivor of dire situations.
This is a reflective piece through the contrasts of two characters that are so similar and yet different:Mud and Ellis. Mud is the corrupted in the adult world, Ellis is the blossoming innocence in a milieu that is laden with dangers, temptations and bad intentions. What we don’t know is when he crosses that line to adulthood, who will he be? For now, he trusts based on instinct, loves based on ideal, and acts with the best intent. Wish adults were not so messed up and had retained some of that innocence as they got older…
Other than the heavy southern accent that I had to muddle through, this is a fine film, but don’t go because of McConaughey and Witherspoon (we know they are seasoned actors that can pull anything), this is a film about the two boys Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland!