Two fourteen-year old boys befriend a stranger (Matthew McConaughey) who has been living on their secret island in the Mississippi River. His name is "Mud," he's wanted for murder, and he's being followed by some very dangerous men.
This movie is a real gem; it's smart, honest, and edge-of-your-seat exciting. It portrays the boys' hardscrabble life in their backwater town with uncompromising violence and grit and is also filled with decency, understanding, and many forms of love.
The two newcomers who play the boys are natural actors, both expressive and sympathetic. McConaughey plays a tough guy who never had a break; he's an anti-hero to root for. Reese Witherspoon has a small but important role as Mud's trampy girlfriend and Sam Shepherd and Joe Don Baker round out the excellent cast.
All of the characters are well-developed and the audience comes to really care about them. The story blends good bits from "Stand By Me," "A Perfect World," "Whistle Down the Wind," and even "Tom Sawyer" and is still unique. It pulls no punches and is truly enjoyable. 4.5 stars.
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