Mute is a new sci-fi thriller on Netflix. The deeply dystopian story by Duncan Jones takes place in a gritty and cold Berlin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hit the mark until very late.
Also, it stars Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux. All three are actors I’ve loved in previous roles.
Even better, it takes place in a future Berlin, which looks like something straight out of Blade Runner 2049 or Altered Carbon. Basically, it’s all cold tech and lots of neon, but very little heart and warmth.
So what’s not to love? Well, I didn’t get much from the trailer, which is probably because the story is pretty much a mess.
You can watch the trailer for Mute right here or continue reading our review below.
What’s the point of it all?
For a long time, I was just waiting to figure out what the Hell was going on. There a quite a few stories being told and while I found many of them interesting, it’s too much.
It felt more like the pilot episode of a series than the beginning of a movie. Actually, it was more like the entire first half of the movie. It’s too much to keep my interest at peak levels, so I definitely found myself getting impatient.
I loved the fact that Duncan Jones’ first feature film is part of Mute. Throughout the movie, we keep seeing Sam Rockwell on various TV screens as his character in Moon. I took this to be a good sign, but by the end of it, I feel it was just a gimmick. Or rather, a way of telling us where in time this is all taking place.
And don’t worry, all the dots [stories] do get connected in time. It just feels like we had no way of doing it on our own, and Duncan Jones is usually better than this.
Three leading men
The new Netflix movie may be titled Mute and have Alexander Skarsgård portray the role of the mute, but this is actually Paul Rudd’s movie. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) in Mute.
It’s just that Paul Rudd has at least as much screen time. And well, obviously, he has lots of lines since this is a very typical Paul Rudd performance.
Also, he shares most of his scenes with Justin Theroux, who has the most interesting character. He definitely goes through quite a transformation. At least, he shows more of himself as the story progresses – both to Paul Rudd’s character and the audience.
It almost does feel like there are three leading men. Though to be fair, I would say Justin Theroux is more of a supporting role. He just ends up stealing scenes all over the place.
Duncan Jones misses the mark
While many people might know Duncan Jones primarily for being the son of David Bowie, he is quite the accomplished filmmaker already.
From this first feature film Moon from 2009, which starred an amazing Sam Rockwell to the Mute on Netflix now, the sci-fi genre clearly works for him. You can watch Moon on Netflix in March 2018 – check out all the Netflix releases for March 2018 here!
For me, this is the first time Duncan Jones doesn’t hit the mark perfectly. The last 30 minutes of the movie is what I expect from him, but there was too much that felt off in the first half.
In the past, Duncan Jones has often, but not always, been part of the writing process as well. For Mute, he’s credited for coming up with the story itself and co-writing the screenplay with Michael Robert Johnson.
In the past, Michael Robert Johnson has written just three feature films; Sherlock Holmes (20009), Pompeii (2014), and Late Shift (2016). Other than that, he also worked on two episodes of The Frankenstein Chronicles, which is out on Netflix in 21 countries as well.
For now, make sure you check out Mute on Netflix. Just don’t take this as an example of what Duncan Jones is capable of. For that, you need to see Moon.
Mute is out on Netflix worldwide from February 23, 2018.
Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Michael Robert Johnson, Duncan Jones
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux
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.