Benefiting from a cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Sam Shepherd, and Michael Shannon, “Mud” is an engaging coming-of-age tale whose gaping plot holes barely matter. Writer-director Jeff Nichols (“Take Shelter”) cobbles together the story of Mud (McCanaughey), a loner fugitive hiding out on a tiny deserted island in the Mississippi Delta. Fourteen-year-old Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his best friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) venture into the Delta to visit the island, where a flood has deposited a 20-foot boat into the upper branches of a tree. Planning to turn the boat into a treehouse of sorts, the adventurous boys are shocked to discover that someone else has beaten them to the punch — Mud. An uneasy friendship develops between the boys and the hopeless romantic who carries a handgun stuffed into the back of his jeans.
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