When we meet Eileen, we see her sabotaging her big sister's wedding. We find out that she blames her older sister, Claire for a car accident that has left her deaf and mute. As Eileen tells... See full summary »
When we meet Eileen, we see her sabotaging her big sister's wedding. We find out that she blames her older sister, Claire for a car accident that has left her deaf and mute. As Eileen tells us the story from her perspective we see a series of flashbacks that tell us about a love affair that she had with her sister's groom James. They had kept the relationship a secret due to an age difference, from everyone except Claire. When James won't believe Eileen's story about Claire trying to murder her, she sets her plan into motion and swears revenge on the newlyweds. As we watch her try to ruin Claire's big day, the audience is left guessing if Eileen's story is the truth. Written by
I'm glad I was able to drag my tired butt to see this film on the last day of the Vail Film Festival. I hadn't really seen Melissa Joan Hart's television work & had no idea that she had designs to be a director, so it was hard to know what to expect. It turns out that "Mute" is a well-crafted, sinister little gem. It's hard to compare it to other films because it is so unusual in its telling and fantastic use of sound design.
In the opening scene, there is no music or foley, so of course, the audience begins to think something is wrong. Suddenly, the lead character introduces herself to the viewer as "Eileen Fool"...probably one of the best names since Hal Hartley's "Simon Grim". We quickly learn that due to a recent auto accident, she has been left deaf & mute. One of the best awkward moments of the film occurs right at the beginning, when Eileen's father parades her through a roomful of wedding guests, as if she can still hear & speak.
The whole film takes place at her perfectionist sister's wedding, which she plans to sabotage. I won't spoil the plot by telling you the reasons for her actions, but there are some deliciously cruel moments including an uncomfortable sign language interpreted wedding toast & a little blood on the dance floor.
Since the main character is deaf, the director and sound designer took the opportunity to make some strong choices regarding foley, music and use of silence. The dialogue is sparse and we experience most of the wedding through Eileen's eyes with only her internal voice to guide us. "Mute" is like a modern day silent film, set in a Technicolor world and Emily Hart's performance brings to mind the wonderful acting by Nadia Sibirskaia in Kirsanoff's silent film "Ménilmontant". Most of the story relies on Emily's ability to convey everything she wants to say in her face, and she pulls it off stunningly.
I also have to mention the wonderful cinematography. Occasionally, it slips into a dreamy state and makes me wonder if what I'm seeing is real or a fiction created by the protagonist. The cinematographer's (Francis Dela Torre) rich use of color and amazing skill with framing creates a remarkable mood for this film. Of course, there is no mood if the script isn't really strong and luckily, Kristin Lipiro has written a clever and sharp story...all within the short time frame of 14 minutes.
Melissa Joan Hart has chosen her collaborators very well because the look, the words (or lack thereof) and the acting are outstanding. She clearly has a vision and an unusual one at that. I hate to sound like a cliché, but here goes, I can't wait to see her next project.
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