A mute bartender goes up against his city's gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.A mute bartender goes up against his city's gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.A mute bartender goes up against his city's gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.
It made me sad and somewhat angry that such a fabulous concept was pretty much wasted by very wanting execution. 'Mute' is not a bad film, or a terrible one, it is much better than the negative reputation it's got. It's just that it's not a good one either, with the concept it had, the cast and the director one cannot help feeling it should have been much more. Easily Jones's worst film ('Moon' being his best) and his only less than decent one. Saw 'Mute' some weeks back on Netflix, but have been behind with my reviewing and film watching and it took some time to gather my thoughts.
The best thing about 'Mute' is the production values. The film does look wonderful with some of the most beautiful and atmospheric visuals of the year thus far. The photography and production design are sheer beauty while technical aspects are just as eye catching and used wisely. The music is both hypnotic and haunting.
First half had some great moments in atmosphere, emotion and character interaction. The most interesting aspect narratively is the chemistry between Justin Theroux and Paul Rudd. The characters are the only fully rounded ones, especially Rudd's who serves the most point to the narrative and the chemistry is suitably nuanced.
Was not impressed by the cast generally, but Theroux and Rudd come off best, the only ones in fact, rising above the material. Both are great, Rudd gives his all in an against-type role but for me Theoux's intense and nuanced performance was even better.
Didn't care for the rest. The support struggle in underwritten, shallow and often pointless, while Alexander Skargaard, even for a character that's mute, is a stiff and lifeless lead. Couldn't get behind his subplot at all. If anybody wants an example of a truly great lead performance as a mute character, look to Sally Hawkins in 'The Shape of Water'.
Furthermore, while the first half was actually not perfect but with a good deal to like, the second half was a mess. How can such a unique concept be treated in such a derivative and far from creative way? The further 'Mute' progressed the duller, more muddled and more confusing the film got. If it tried to take on less story-wise and in themes had less characters, things would have been more intriguing and clearer. Character motivations are vague and introduced out of the blue, the themes and ideas are too often under-explored or muddled, tonally it's unfocused and too many elements go nowhere or take too long to get there.
Jones's direction has passion and ambition and there are good intentions here, he just didn't seem to know what to do with the concept or different elements. The pace does drag and the film did feel too long by about 20-25 minutes.
Overall, didn't love it. Didn't hate it. More like was indifferent towards it. 5/10 Bethany Cox
- Apr 23, 2018