Matthew McConaughey and a pair of teenage actors help filmmaker Jeff Nichols’ “Southern” make the most of its timeless Mississippi River flavor, as fourteen-year-old Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) fall under the congenial spell of a fugitive drifter named Mud (McConaughey, channeling Paul Newman), who’s wanted for killing one of his ex-girlfriend’s (Reese Witherspoon) admirers. Writer-director Nichols (Take Shelter
, Shotgun Stories
) clearly loves the lowland Arkansas milieu. He populates Mud
’s world with more scalawags and gun-toting neighbors (among them Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, and Joe Don Baker) than you can shake a stick at. But there’s an honesty of character at work here — even the smallest parts ring true. (130 min.)
See our full review:
Not Hud. Mud.