FILM: Mud (12A)

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Following strong performances in Killer Joe, Bernie, Magic Mike and The Paperboy, which garnered several awards, Matthew McConaughey’s renaissance continues with an eye-catching central turn in Jeff Nichols’s tender coming-of-age drama set in rural Arkansas.

Teenager Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his best friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) live on the river with their parents. During an expedition to a nearby island, the boys stumble upon a fugitive called Mud (McConaughey), who is hiding in an abandoned boat.

Mud takes the youngsters into his confidence and reveals that he is awaiting the arrival of his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), who has a distinctive tattoo on her wrist.

However, he cannot make direct contact with Juniper because she is being watched by violent men, so Mud asks Ellis and Neckbone to pass on a message for him.

Willingly, the boys are drawn into Mud’s dangerous world of bloodshed and retribution, which leads to an awkward reunion between Mud and his former mentor (Sam Shepard).

Released: May 10 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas), 130 mins