Friday, March 23, 2018

Mute

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  This movie's title is the state of being that a lot of people want me to maintain.



Mute – 3 out of 5

Somehow, I didn’t hear about the movie Mute until director Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s boy) was on WTF with Marc Maron.  Listening to his interview (and mentioning that this is a film that takes place in the same universe as Moon and is, essentially, a spiritual sequel) I found myself incredibly intrigued by this Netflix original.  Then they mentioned that Paul Rudd was in it and I slammed my fists on the desk in front of me and said, “That’s it, I’m watching it.”  Then I proceeded to leave my cubicle with the intention of going home to watch the movie.  I got to the parking lot when I remembered I still have work to do for my day job.  I then returned to my desk and said, “I will watch this when I get home.”  And watched it I did.  

Alexander Skarsgård is a prime example of a human being
who won the big bucks on the genetic lottery.

It’s the year 2035 and Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) is a bartender at a Berlin strip club.  When Leo was a child, an accident damaged his vocal chords and made him mute but his inability to speak didn’t stop him from falling in love with the waitress Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh).  Naadirah has a shady past but this doesn’t matter to Leo—that is until she mysteriously disappears.  Now Leo is on a desperate mission to find her and it seems that two American surgeons; Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux), may have some answers.

GET A ROOM!

Mute’s strengths lie entirely with the cast and the visuals.  From beginning to end, the product is filmed beautifully and the future that is presented looks gorgeous.  Yes, it is reminiscent of Blade Runner and its sequel but that doesn’t change the fact that what Jones was presenting looked incredible.  The sets, to the extras, the costumes to the locales and future tech all look fantastic and really crafts a world that feels lived in but also feels just over-the-top enough that it has a disjointed, otherworldly feel to it.  Additionally, the camera work and the use of color really make this a joy to behold.  This element really helps a lot because it is giving you something pretty to look at and, sadly, that distraction is needed a lot in the film.

Why do futures in movies love neon lights and primary colors so much?

Suicide is painless.  I really liked Jones' homage to
M.A.S.H. with the characters of Cactus Bill and Duck.
The weakest aspect about Mute and the thing that really dragged this movie down is the fact the story moves very slowly.  Some critics have called out the darker nature of the journey and the depressing state of the tale as something that was harming the story but I didn’t have that big of a problem with that.  For me, the killer was how slowly Leo’s investigation was taking and how his path felt less about checking out a mystery and more about showcasing this future world.  Every lead Leo took quickly stopped feeling like we were watching a character trying to find the woman he loves and more like we were just watching world-building take place.  While it was cool to see all the unique nooks and crannies this future had to offer, it ended up killing the intrigue the story so desperately needed.  This also had an effect on the big reveals that started to take place in the third act.  I spent so much time seeing Leo go on what feels like a character wandering aimlessly and like he was on a sightseeing mission that, by the time there was answers, I realized that I didn’t see a story that was really setting up the questions.

What a hobbit will do for money just to get his second breakfast fix.

One other element I will mention that was really great was the performances.  Skarsgård is doing an amazing job with his non-verbal performance and is emoting effectively well.  However, the performance I enjoyed the most was Paul Rudd.  Rudd is playing the antagonist in this film and I’ve become so accustomed to seeing the actor in comedic and silly roles (even his action-based role as Ant-Man plays to his skills of a comedian) that I thought it was going to be shocking to see him play the bad guy.  However, the character of Cactus Bill is, essentially, a dick and since Rudd has played a comedic dick in the past he was able to handle this role amazingly well.  There was never a point where I didn’t take him seriously as the antagonist and he really brought some weight to the role.  I always knew the guy was talented but this showed his talent was deeper than I ever realized.

Is Paul Rudd one of the greatest people to ever exist?  Answer:  Yes.

Mute is a good idea that looks pretty and has an amazing cast but is, to put it bluntly, pretty boring.  I liked its connection to Moon and I was blown away with the visuals and Paul Rudd’s performance but was terribly underwhelmed by a story that felt like it was going somewhere but wasn’t in too big of a hurry to get there.

That's a lot of Rockwells!

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