Up-and-coming auteur Jeff Nichols only has two established movies under his belt, but has already become known for crafting emotionally taut, stylish drama/thrillers. In both 2007's Shotgun Stories and 2011's Take Shelter, Nichols presented richly-shot tales of an Arkansas both thoroughly modern and steeped in local flavor.
Though Nichols' third and newest film, Mud, will open in domestic theaters on April 26th, promotional materials for the movie have only just begun to hit the public. A trailer for Mud was released in mid-January, and now a full poster – showing off Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe) in all his grimy glory – is available for your viewing pleasure.
Mud is a crime drama set (once again) in Nichols' native Arkansas – this time on the banks of on an unspecified, oft-flooded river. Two local kids (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland) discover a treed boat after one such flood – only to also discover its seemingly-homeless inhabitant, the titular Mud (McConaughey). As it turns out, Mud is a fugitive on the run from both the law and a local crime family for murdering a man who threatened his girlfriend, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). As Mud attempts to get his boat working again in order to make his getaway, the boys have to decide whether to shelter him or give him over to the authorities.
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McConaughey is joined by a cast of genre favorites, including previous Nichols leading man Michael Shannon (Man of Steel), Joe Don Baker (GoldenEye), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire), and Sam Sheppard (Killing Them Softly). Of course, the main attraction is Matthew McConaughey as Mud – so much so that he's the only element presented in the movie's poster, which you can view in all its enlargeable, high-resolution grittiness below.
Currently making the rounds on the festival circuit, Mud is receiving appreciative – though not over-enthusiastic – reviews. Comparisons to the critically-loved Take Shelter are inevitable, though many are quick to point out that Mud is much more of a fabulist crime film than an intense personal drama. As with his previous movies, it looks as if Nichols is devoted to a deliberately-paced, contemplative story told amid flashes of acute suspense and violence.
Mud is yet another film to honestly look forward to as 2013 progresses. Despite its frustrating ending, Take Shelter was a consistently tense, emotionally raw, and compellingly shot film. Seeing what Jeff Nichols and Matthew McConaughey can bring to the Southern-fried variety of neo-noir is very much an exciting prospect.
Mud will slide out of the water and into theaters for a limited release on April 26, 2013.