I haven’t seen a movie that painful in ages. Oh, what a crap it was.
Duncan Jones, however brilliant he’d like to be, fails miserably recently. After somewhat praised Moon and Source Code, his Warcraft was definitely not the quality Blizzard expected. Now he finally scored the deal with Netflix to create his forever dreamed film. And now there’s no wonder no one else wanted to make this deal earlier.
Because you see, Mute was one of the very first scripts Duncan wrote. And ever since then, he was trying to make it happen. After so many years, Netflix gave him this chance. No idea why, though. Recently Netflix got more and more failures. They aren’t the praised VOD they used to be, a year ago. Nowadays their content does not usually equal quality and the defeats seem to be much more damaging than scoring any victory. Who now even remembers about the Mudbound Oscar nominees? There was definitely more noise about mixed opinions of Altered Carbon or The Cloverfield Paradox. Even Black Mirror after a short while became very silent.
And unfortunately, Mute went straight to the “bad” batch. Kept in very popular cyberpunk theme, it doesn’t do right even that. This film is confusing on every damn level. I haven’t seen such a sloppy one. Seriously, even Geostorm was more fun to watch, because I could expect what was happening. Here the plot is so mixed up, I don’t actually understand what’s the story about. I realised after a long while that Alexander Skarsgard searching for his missing girlfriend is the main idea. There are too many branches taken out of the context that after 10 minutes you don’t know whether it is to show the character or it’s an important situation to the further story.
My first big problem was acting. Skarsgard is basically making the same face through the whole film. Paul Rudd tries to make his character right, but the writing is so bad, he fails. Robert Sheehan as Luba is fun, though. But it’s the same lame writing so he’s a useless character, too. And there’s the girlfriend, Naadirah, who was basically there to say the words of mute Skarsgard. I do not exactly enjoy feeling stupid while watching a film and these love monologues made me feel like it. This love is measured to fit the plot. I don’t see how they’re so in love and so connected and oh ah. All the monologues are terribly shallow and I completely don’t understand how it’s possible that neither the mute nor his girlfriend knows sign language. They have a few obvious signs but apart from these he pretty much writes answers on a piece of paper.
Leo is a friggin Amish whose mother denied him vocal chords reconstruction when he was a kid. So in this cyberpunk world, he’s living without speech and without technology. Cool, eh? Oh, and apparently being Amish is kind of common in cyberpunk Germany because even that dude at the bar knows it. Btw, yes, it takes place somewhere in Germany. Which doesn’t really feel like Germany, but who cares?
And that’s basically it. Leo has no more character than being this cute little boy doing nothing bad, but obviously working as a bartender in a strip club. Is it me or there’s something not okay here? Sure, it can be exaggerated into “because his girlfriend works there, too”. It might be a case but then – he doesn’t fit there at all. Shouldn’t bartenders in such places be, um, chatty? And I still don’t understand where he got his temper. No backstory about it, but the dude can go from calm to psycho in a split second, whenever someone touches or says something bad about his girl.
There were plenty of threads which were completely pointless. Or rather, connected in a way it was pointless. Leo while looking for his girlfriend is “asking” about her every person he possibly can. He reaches every single fellow who is surprisingly connected to another in this small web of dark people. It seems like Leo is the only nice guy in the city. Everyone is rotten to the depth but the way it is shown, the audience is made to believe that Leo is the good guy here. Not that he basically punches first, asks later.
To be honest, I still don’t understand why there is a paedophile storyline there. It is completely pointless, only to make one friend be angry at one another. This is one of this 5 minutes plotlines which have nothing to do with a story, really. And the film is technically made of these. One dramatic torture story here, another rape there. Seriously. I wish it was funny. The script is basically crap. Even the major plot twist is made in a way it is bad. We get the glimpses from the past to have the truth revealed 30 seconds later. And to be honest, there’s no chance you’ll be shocked by it. Even if it makes you surprised, the lack of any emotional involvement will make it feel dull.
So there’s that. I could go on and on with it, to be honest. But what bothered me the most aside the script was… Everything else. Even damn sound mixing was bad there. Film editing, cinematography, everything. I can’t say about costumes because it seemed like they were bought at some flea market. Even that cyberpunk theme is not okay. Suddenly a wild kindergarten appears. Just like a normal preschool, with everything every kiddo knows nowadays (or even consider it old). I seriously wonder what is good about this. I come out empty. So just mark my words and don’t try to watch it. I’m 99% sure you’ll regret it.
The best part is the beginning of the credits. Two reasons. First, because that 2 hours of pain is finally over. Second, Duncan dedicates this for his dad. Which is damn cute, if you think about it, but I do hope that wherever he is now, his dad’s heart didn’t break while watching that shit. If you don’t know. Duncan’s dad is widely known as David Bowie. God bless his soul.