Not a big fan of post-resurgance McConaughey; I find him very mannered and disingenuous, with his slack jaw, furrowed brow, wandering hands, fake-sounding gravely voice, and I couldn't help but imagine the effortlessly strange and fascinating Michael Shannon killing in the lead, especially when he's showing up for delightful but too-few-and-far-between cameo scenes. On the whole, I find I seem to want to like Nichols movies more than I end up liking them (though I did love 99% of Take Shelter). His approach to pacing here is closer to what he did in Shotgun Stories, whereby he has ridiculously high-stakes drama presented in a relaxed, unhurried way. Which sounds fine, but just doesn't work for me in practice, even while I'm revelling in his tone and atmosphere and skilful character work. The aspects of epic (and not-so-epic) romance make my eyes roll, and the denouement seems utterly absurd and out-of-place, like a movie plot is intruding on the lives of ordinary people. Also I don't know what the heck he thought he was doing with those female characters. It's shameful how much he wastes Paulson and Witherspoon. Sam Shepard is fucking great, though. Holy shit that was a beautiful performance, and completely overshadowed by McConaughey's mugging.