Mud (J. Nichols, 2012)
Talk about a film that wears its heart on its sleeve. Unashamed of its themes to the point where every event acts as a big neon light pointing unsubtly towards the central idea – love has many faces, and not all are created equally. The execution of such is definitely heavy-handed and creates some sappy moments. But since the protagonist is a 14-year old boy, at least the theme is poignant and fitting. Unfortunately, the film still suffers from too much exposition which hurts some otherwise strong characters and even causes the inclusion of one character who would have been better left an unseen presence.
Oh, but that atmosphere. Set in a rivertown in Arkansas, Nichols does a great job bringing the midwest and its beauty to life. Deep orange hues of the sun at every phase of the day are mirrored by the tanned worn skins of the characters; the greens of the trees pierced by light beams and always moving soft hues of blue of the water and clouds round out the color and tone palette. Because of this, despite the pain and confusion constantly flowing in and out of his life, I wanted to be in this boy’s shoes – learning about heartbreak and fear with the land as his comfort and with his best friend by his side. 8/10