Mute Film Review

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
February 24th, 2018

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Review of: Mute

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On February 24, 2018
Last modified:February 24, 2018

Summary:

Duncan Jones gives his all, but the script alone holds this one back from perfection.

Review of: Mute

Reviewed by:
Rating:

2
On February 24, 2018
Last modified:February 24, 2018

Summary:

Duncan Jones gives his all, but the script alone holds this one back from perfection.

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Mute Film Review

Mute

Berlin. Forty years from today. A roiling city of immigrants, where East crashes against West in a science-fiction Casablanca. Leo Beiler (Skarsgard), a mute bartender has one reason and one reason only for living here, and she's disappeared. But when Leo's search takes him deeper into the city's underbelly, an odd pair of American surgeons (led by Rudd) seem to be the only recurring clue, and Leo can't tell if they can help, or who he should fear most.

Despite a few misses, filmmaker Duncan Jones (Source Code) is a director who somehow manages to succeed in his vision and returns with his 12-year passion project. Funded by the good folks at Netflix Studios, which helped bring the project to life. Mute is set to pay homage to a dying genre, revitalizing old areas of the film world with stellar cast members and effects. Duncan Jones has proved himself to be a celebrated figure in the sci-fi world, as both Moon and Source Code delivered on their visions of exploring outside our planet. Both films didn't become smashings at the box office but instead found a niche audience outside the Oscar-winners. But can his new project succeed in telling another brilliant adventure? Or fall into a pit of dreadful Netflix projects.

Mute is a sci-fi thriller, set in Berlin during the mid-21st century and revolves around Leo Beiler, an Amish bartender who has been quiet since birth. Leo is a quirky individual, who will not fix his voice due to a strict Amish upbringing. One day his girlfriend Naadira, suddenly vanishes and it's up to him to figure out reasons behind the absence. Leo Beiler has to use his skills to unearth Naadira's secrets on why she left without telling him. During the film's run-time, he uncovers more about Naadira's life which leads him into big trouble.

Leo decides to track Naadira by himself, discovering the life that she lead before falling for him. While carrying out the investigation, he crosses paths with the odd pair of doctors: Duck Teddington (Justin Theroux) and “Cactus” (Paul Rudd), who both have after something in common. But could they be related to Naadira’s departure from Leo’s life?

Mute

Mute is a beautiful movie, which updates Berlin for the cyberpunk genre adding neon-heavy and CGI skylines: pushing the Netflix budget to extreme levels. Filled with pop-inspired outfits and skyscrapers without a doubt paying homage to film classic Blade Runner. Giving us a sense of atmosphere, which makes the world come alive and pushes the narrative forward. Making the strong themes of traditionalism and futurist enhancements, come across as authentic. Sadly these elements fall apart with its side characters, who all feel at odds with the pretty dark subject matter.

Story continues below

During the first hour, audiences felt connected to Leo, but these emotional components are lost when Duck and Cactus jump into scenes. Duncan Jones should have focused on the protagonist, instead of shoehorning two uninteresting characters: a striking contrast between Leo's world.

Skarsgård delivers an excellent job at making Leo’s shyness work on screen, contrasting nicely with the insane Theroux and Rudd who both get solid screen-time. The latter actors make an efficient pair of freaks that serve to clean dead bodies for the gangs of Berlin. Bill (Rudd) is the cool part of the duo a violent maniac you can’t help but love and Duck is the creeper who has less redeeming qualities. I wanted to love these insane gentlemen, but the messy script makes it hard to root for them when the action kicks off. Despite these issues Paul Rudd and Theroux both deliver solid performances, which should be enough for some. Perhaps a sequel could allow us more insight into the pair of nutjobs because they don't give much to the imagination.

Mute is an uninspired sci-fi/thriller, that doesn't know what it wants to be from boring characters to an inconsistent tone. Duncan Jone's tribute to neo-noir is impressive at first but stumbles due to its push for worldbuilding and additional franchise connections. The film's story beats are exciting, but the director fails to dive in heads first and complete a solid story. Instead, Duncan Jones relies on poorly written dialogue and forced exposition: making it feel like a bloated waste of time. Mute without a doubt is the most disappointing release of 2018, but what are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

2/4

 

Mute

  • 2
Duncan Jones gives his all, but the script alone holds this one back from perfection.

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