Right from the jump, writer/director Christopher Good unloads the viewer into the whirlwind that is Mudjackin’, a brother/sister buddy comedy murder mystery, starting with an I.C.E. raid before even considering introducing context or characters really. From there, the relentlessness continues with the tempo locked-in at high-octane with rapid-fire cuts coming from every possible direction while the brother/sister duo run through an exhaustive overview of their backstories with a swiftness – years flush with dreaming big and big, shattered dreams.
With that, Mudjackin’ makes quite the impression with quite the introduction. Furthermore, what is even more impressive than the film’s rambunctious opening that ricochets through its characters and their histories might be the fact that Good is able to sustain this pace for the majority of the film. Cycling through a plethora of ideas and styles, Good appears to be throwing every notion of the film he had against the wall to see what sticks. With the answer being, just about everything as all these aspects and inclusions work in one way or another.
As for the elements that do not stick (a scant amount of which exist), they are easily forgivable considering they’re rendered essentially null and void in terms of critical judgment; due in large part to the sheer amount of creativity and imagination being deployed in rapid succession over a short period of time. With the film only being 85 minutes long, the initial viewing experience may be a tad disorienting given the film is overabundant in regards to plot details – I.C.E. raids, personal histories, Battles of the Bands, domestic argument mixtapes from penpals, mudjacking businesses, out-of-town post punk rock stars, and an attempted poisoning. All of this transpires before the Neo Nazis show up with their low-budget horror-comedy production.
What could have easily been an absolute mess on the narrative front, considering all of the plot-points and specifics (didn’t even mention the uncertainty of Missouri A&M’s football program), ends up being a rather organized storyline through a coalescence of talents. Christopher Good’s ideas are fully-realized on-screen, ably brought to fruition through unadulterated creativity and DIY ingenuity with the help of Jimmy Darrah and Wilson Vance as siblings Dustin and Mo, both bringing equal measures hilarity and genuine heart.
The vitality emanating from Mudjackin’ also stems from the talented tandem of Christopher Good and Christopher Good. Good handling the cinematography end of things utilizing an assortment of camera movements seemingly at all times – pulling in, pulling out, tracking left and right, up and down. He even detours to Malicktown when introducing the Neo Nazis, opting for a Malickian aesthetic with a skinhead arms-splayed combing the tall grass intercut with nature shots whilst a voiceover explains the tenets of National Socialist Movement. Or, a simple sequence involving Darrah getting out of a truck shuffles through a handful of angles and zooms in the matter of five seconds (give or take).
Likewise, Good’s editing abilities may be the true standout of the project with that exiting truck sequence being home to a fistful of cuts as well. Compiling all of this footage, all of these ideas and arranging it into the vigorous catalog of creative vision that lays before you on-screen – bursting with ideas and humor – surely was no small task and Good executes with skill. Quite a showing considering Mudjackin’ is Christopher Good’s feature-length debut.
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