Mute (Mystery, Sci-fi, Thriller) (2018)
Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Michael Robert Johnson (screenplay), Duncan Jones (screenplay and story)
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Seyneb Saleh
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In a horrid boating accident on the Amish countryside, Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) gets caught in the draft and is hit by a small boat’s prop This leaves him with several gashes on his chest and neck, injuries that could’ve been treated; however, Leo’s parents (being Amish) decided it was against their traditional views.
Jumping years ahead, Leo is now living in a futuristic version of Berlin where he works as a bartender. During his shifts, he and his girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) are constantly harassed by all manner of miscreants, but since they’re in need of the financial stability their job grants them, they deal with it in their own way. However, when things are taken too far, and some hustlers start hounding Naadirah more than usual, Leo can’t help but fight back for his girlfriend’s sake. All of this leading to her sudden disappearance and Leo’s journey throughout futuristic Berlin’s darkest most corrupt neighbourhoods.
Marketed as a Netflix release, Duncan Jones’ newest endeavour looks promising. Creating a familiar atmosphere in Blade Runner-esque surroundings with one significant difference, namely the main character being mute. Due to this handicap, the main protagonist is put into some interesting situations. Adding to this handicap, Leo also is shown to be a Luddite, averse to the technology most have embraced in this time. Character information like this makes you ask the most basic of questions. But when those questions aren’t answered, it’s soon apparent that the director hasn’t thought much of the film through, that’s an issue. Most of the scenes following Naadirah’s disappearance are guiding the viewer through the story, but that story doesn’t really go anywhere, nor does it answer any of your questions. Mute sets itself up as an intriguing and mysterious neo-noir; however, it gets less interesting and less credible as it goes on. Mute is unbelievable in the worst sense of the word.
A unique premise leading to an artist’s dream artwork, many ideas falling flat on their face due to them being so horribly out of context. Nothing really stands out with Jones just juggling ideas around seemingly at random to eventually come to a ‘’who cares’’ kind of conclusion. It’s such a massive shame that Duncan Jones’ love letter to his father turned out to be this patchwork of a film.
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Unique in premise but sadly the script was as just as muted as the main character was.