It’s official: Jeff Nichols, who gave us the brilliant Take Shelter, is a writer/director who stands among the best of the current crop.

Matthew McConaughey plays the title character in this amazing film, Mud. He’s a chipped-toothed, wild-haired drifter living in a boat in a tree along the Mississippi. Two kids, Ellis and Neckbone (Tye Sheridan, of The Tree of Life, and Jacob Lofland) stumble upon him and become a part of his strange and dangerous world.

McConaughey is catching wave after wave of success lately, and this role is his best one yet. He makes Mud a little scary, yet charming and cunning. Sheridan and Lofland are terrific as the young friends who should probably stay away from guys living in boats in trees.

The cast also boasts Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon and Sam Shepard. All of them are equally great.

A lot of us wrote off McConaughey a couple of years back, especially after that Surfer, Dude movie in 2008. This movie caps an amazing comeback: He makes Mud into a memorable character who is equally heartbreaking and scary.

McConaughey is not done; he’s got a role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s looking like 2013 could be another banner year for the man.

As for Nichols, it’s time for the world to notice this director. He has incredible vision, and he makes movies that dent skulls (in a good way). I want a movie every day from this guy. Give me more Jeff … give me more now.

Special Features: A director’s commentary and some decent behind-the-scenes stuff.