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‘Mud’ is an exotic slice of backwater Southern life

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The cinema’s leading purveyor of Southern Gothic, Jeff Nichols, hands Matthew McConaughey his latest tour de force turn in “Mud,” a down and dirty if entirely-too-long mythic melodrama in the “Tobacco Road” tradition. Nichols (“Shotgun Stories,” “Take Shelter”) has cooked up an exotic stew that includes obsessive love, a woman unworthy of it, a criminal on the run and a Huck Finn coming of age tale set against a dying way of life in backwaters ...

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