Can we talk about Matthew McConaughey for a bit? Okay, we can talk about him all day long if you want.
We are in the middle of watching an extraordinary career arc. For a while, the once-promising career seemed to be sagging into mundane, easy-to-digest but forgettable films (How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, some other films where he lounges shirtless). But in recent years (like, the last two) McConaughey has cashed in on the original promise he showed - as a dangerous, leering but likable character in Dazed & Confused.
This latest, Mud, is remarkable. Moody and southern, the film is a love story and a mystery, reverberating with themes of love, loyalty and betrayal. Really until the final scenes, it isn't clear whether McConaughey's character, Mud, is good or evil, crazy or clever - and he plays that line wonderfully; never pandering, just being.
Yes, he does go shirtless (and the woman next to me in the theater audibly gasped when he finally "revealed" late in the movie), but it is his profoundly earnest acting that is finally propping up his career. Hoo-RAY for McConaug-HEY!