The Sci-Fi genre is alive and well. 21 days after Netflix released Altered Carbon, the streaming service offered another neo-noir, cyberpunk original featuring a hot Swede as the lead. Alexander Skarsgard is the main character in this Duncan Jones film, about a mute bartender who lost his voice due to an accident when he was little. Coming from an Amish family, “Leo” was not able to get the surgery he needed to repair his vocal cords and as a result, lost his ability to speak. Now an adult, he bartends and carves wood and the movie really begins when he realizes his girlfriend has vanished without a trace.
Due to this film just coming out two days ago, this review will be spoiler free. I know I just left a massive review for Altered Carbon, which I loved and I have to tell you, I think Mute stole the visuals for the city in the other show because they look exactly alike. There, of course, are some similarities, but I think that can be attributed to any cyberpunk work.
A lot of reviews I’ve been reading mention that Mute has a very slow beginning. And, it does. The first act of this film heavily centers around Leo, his job, and Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh), Leo’s blue-haired girlfriend. It is endearing to see that despite the fact that Leo can’t speak and is a little behind on technology, it doesn’t stop him from having a fulfilling relationship with Naadirah. Skarsgard is 6’4″ and as much as the film tried to make him look sickly and gangly, his physical presence makes him all the more intimidating when he’s defending his girlfriend from scumbags.
The plot is a little janky. We have a window’s view of how technology is integrated with the future and a slight taste of some political discord, such as many American soldiers having gone AWOL and holed up in Germany. The reason why, we don’t know. Among those Americans is Paul Rudd’s Cactus Bill. Arguably the best part of this movie, Rudd is extremely volatile and you can’t decide whether you think he’s a scumbag or a decent man. Well, until the very end I guess, but he has redeeming qualities. Unlike his best friend Duck, another surgeon; who please do not feel bad for in the least.
The concept of Mute is interesting enough, but I really did not feel it delivered. It’s always hard when a movie has a slow opening because you wonder if it’ll ever pick up. And considering this film was over two hours long, it didn’t really do that. We had characters that had nothing really to do with the other, jumpy plots, and a lot of weird sex. There was a lot of references to certain people sleeping together, but we were never really sure, and there are still many questions that went unanswered. Not to mention, the end was extremely anticlimactic.
While Skarsgard is the lead, he didn’t make the noise he was supposed to. And you can say, well, he’s mute. Let me reference to Jon Bernthal’s performance in Pilgrimage as the Mute, which was highly praised by many critics. Myself included, as his presence was so powerful that not a single word needed to be uttered. We did not get this kind of performance from Leo and therefore, made his character boring.
Yes, I realize I put a bunch of links in the paragraph above, but you should watch Pilgrimage, it’s so good.
All in all, Paul Rudd really becomes the standout in this film. I’ve personally never seen him as such an asshole before, to the point where some moments were cringeworthy. But, it was nice seeing him take a step away from the good guy shoes we’re used to seeing him in as Scott Lang in Ant-Man.
Mute isn’t the best movie in the world, but no worse than Netflix’s other failure, Bright. I’d consider watching Mute. Though it gives no profound message or really even impresses us much with technological advances, it has a love story that’s endearing and did I mention, Paul Rudd?